We first met Paula and her family through Instagram, following along with their active adventures there and on her blog FitFam6. We met up at our spring launch event and were especially struck by the curiosity and excitement of little Asher, their youngest son. Paula recently shared Asher’s journey with us and we were inspired to share their story and partner together through PLAE-it-forward.
photos provided by Paula Villadelgado
In 2014, Asher was hospitalized and it was discovered that his condition was linked to a rare chromosome deletion. At a loss for information about this diagnosis, Paula and her husband David found solace with Chromosome Disorder Outreach (CDO). CDO is a non-profit resource providing support and information to anyone diagnosed with a rare chromosome disorder, as well as actively promoting research and a positive community understanding of these disorders. The support they give to families like Asher’s is essential to coping with the emotional and physical demands of a special needs child.
Paula learned of a week dedicated to rare chromosome disorder that fell around Asher’s birthday and from there Active 4 Asher was born. The Villadelgados host a local fun run event to encourage families to get active, spend time together, and learn a little about chromosome disorders. They hope to grow the event to eventually be a virtual 5k to fundraise for CDO.
Donation is important, but most of all, Paula says, “Now my entire family is about spreading the message of equality and acceptance, even if it is one person at a time. My husband, sons and I are constantly trying to share the message that a person’s physical attributes or challenges are just one small part of who they are as a person, to look past those parts and get to know the person, get to know Asher.” Something as simple as reading testimonials about children and families living with rare chromosome disorders can bridge gaps in knowledge and understanding. “Our mission is beyond just rare chromosome disorders, but to encourage the acceptance of each other for who we are. In the end we are all different, with different talents and challenges, different abilities and knowledge. Acceptance of the individual as they are will go a long way.”
We couldn’t agree more! We’re so glad to have the opportunity to start getting to know Asher and support the Villadelgado family mission. You can support Chromosome Disorder Outreach by PLAEing-it-forward using the checkout code GIVE306—PLAE will donate 10% of each purchase to CDO. Shop now to earn a donation.