Reporter, Hart Co. News-Herald
On Saturday, September 24 at Elizabethtown High School, eight-year-old Olivia Priddy, a second-grade student at Bonnieville School, walked in the 5th Annual DSA of the Heartland Buddy Walk, alongside family, friends, and school staff.
The fundraising efforts of the Buddy Walk will support the Down Syndrome Association of the Heartland programs and services, as well as advocacy and public awareness initiatives that benefit all individuals with Down syndrome.
To anyone else, Olivia might appear to be the child who loves playing with her babies and Barbie dolls and shopping at Target, where she always has to buy her favorite Cheerios and Chips.
To those closest to her, she is an inspiration.
“Olivia is an amazing child,” explained her mother, Karen Priddy. “She continually amazes us each and every day. She has shown us so much that we would have missed out on if God had not chosen us as her parents. She has taken us on the most wonderful adventure, and we have met people that we would never have met without her. She is stubborn and very independent, but I really believe that is what helps her overcome so much in her life. She never gives up on something that she really wants to do, but the flip side is if she doesn’t want to do it then she is just as stubborn…She enters a room with confidence, and she loves to give hugs and kisses to everyone.”
Olivia has been in therapy since she was three months old. She does speech, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and music therapy.
“She loves therapy, and a lot of her success I contribute to the wonderful therapist that has helped us,” remarked Priddy. “She was delayed in walking and talking, but if you met her, you would never know it…She has the best imagination and loves to imitate her therapist/teachers…She started preschool at three years old, and on her first day she told me to go ahead and leave.”
Priddy’s one wish is that there were more services local to Hart County for special needs families.
“Without the DSAH we would not have met some of the great supports in our life, and Olivia would not have some of the great friendships,” said Priddy. “We have to travel for her to participate with children that have special abilities like her. These children have a lot to offer in this world. They are a valuable part of society and need inclusion I know one day Olivia will be able to have a job and contribute love and kindness to others.”
To contact the Down Syndrome Association of the Heartland, to check for upcoming events, or if you have questions or would like to make a donation, visit the organization’s Facebook page or go to http://www.dsheartland.org/.