Brittany’s Baskets of Hope offers support, congratulations to families of babies with Down syndrome


LAKE GROVE, New York — Parents of newborns are usually showered with congratulations, but that’s not the experience Susan Schiavone had in 1989, when she gave birth to her daughter, Brittany.

Brittany was diagnosed with Down syndrome, and doctors, friends and even family members repeatedly said “I’m sorry” rather than congratulations.

Brittany is now 32 years old, and has teamed up with her mom to change that societal attitude, which they say is still prevalent today.

They have created Brittany’s Baskets of Hope, a Long Island-based nonprofit organization on a mission to support families who are expecting or have just welcomed a baby with Down syndrome.

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“When most of what they are hearing is I am sorry, we want to change that to congratulations. We want to show that there is a bright future for their babies and their family, ” Susan said.

The families receive a basket packed with pamphlets, makeup, socks, baby books, and even a onesie that says “downright perfect.”

Since delivering their first basket of hope in October 2016, Brittany and Susan have now sent out 1,350 baskets to families in all 50 states.

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Brittany most enjoys personally delivering the baskets to nearby families, serving as a role model for the babies and their new parents.

“As we say in the Down syndrome community, we are the lucky few, and that is absolutely true,” said Susan. “These kids that we have are the gift we never knew we needed.”

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