Good Neighbors

Woman Sends ‘Baskets of Hope’ To Parents Of Newborns With Down Syndrome

When a family gives birth to a child with Down syndrome, they're often met with reactions of sympathy. Even though its usually coming from a kind place, the words "I'm sorry" shed a negative light on what should otherwise be a joyful time.

Brittany Schiavone is on a mission to change all that. She was born with Down syndrome, and after being inspired by a video she saw of people helping families and babies, she decided to start Brittany's Baskets of Hope to bring comfort and educate new parents of babies with Down syndrome.

"We're trying to flip the script," Susan Schiavone, Brittany's mom, told Upworthy. "Instead of hearing 'I'm Sorry,' new parents are hearing 'Congratulations!'"

Brittany was inspired to start "Brittany's Baskets of Hope" after seeing a video of people helping families and babies at her job. Brittany's Baskets of Hope/Facebook

The Schiavones sent out their first basket in 2016, and the idea took off from there. Families from all over the country started making requests, and Brittany and her family came up with a system for packing the baskets and sending them.

The baskets are filled with a hand-picked selection of baby toys, children's books, donated items and a onesie with the organization's slogan: "Down Right Perfect." Brittany includes a pamphlet in each basket that tells her story and provides resources for raising children with Down syndrome.

Brittany (pictured on the right) fills baskets with her social media director/bestie Ashley Asti (left).Brittany's Baskets of Hope/Facebook

"We want to let them know that no matter who they are, or how they're born, their life deserves to be celebrated," Ashley Asti, Brittany's best friend/social media director, said.

So far, Brittany has sent over 1,000 baskets to families in every state, including Puerto Rico. Volunteers all over the country have knitted blankets and booties to include in the baskets and others have donated money to her cause.

Folks have donated hand-knitted blankets, caps and booties that are included in the baskets. Brittany's Baskets of Hope/Facebook

Before Covid-19 hit, Brittany and her mom hand-delivered baskets to the families who reached out to her from the Long Island area, where she lives.

"It is my favorite thing to see the babies and hold the babies and talk to the parents all about it," she said. "I try to give them hope."

Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, Brittany would visit with the families who reached out to her and deliver the baskets in person. Brittany's Baskets of Hope/Facebook

Social media is an important part of Brittany's Baskets of Hope as it allows a space for parents to network and share their stories. Ashley also shares photos of Brittany to show that adults with the disability can lead happy and fulfilling lives.

Brittany has sent baskets to families in all 50 states, and Puerto Rico. Brittany's Baskets of Hope/Facebook

While the coronavirus pandemic has forced them to make some changes, Brittany says that she'll continue sending baskets and spreading hope as long as its needed.

"I want to keep it going and get my word out," Brittany said. "I want to tell them that babies with Down syndrome can do anything—really, really, really, really can do anything."

That's Brittany as a baby (pictured on the right) with her older siblings. Brittany's Baskets of Hope/Facebook

What a superhero! We're sure that Brittany's Baskets of Hope mean the world to the families who receive them.

Check out this video to learn more about this amazing organization...

How can you start something good?

You can help Brittany continue her mission by donating to her GoFundMe page.

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