The Novaceks

When you make a gift to the Down Syndrome Association of Wisconsin, you fund life-changing programs and services that support thousands of people around the state. For Stephanie and Tom, the Parent's First Call program has been invaluable on their journey. 

When Stephanie was pregnant with Tommy, a prenatal test indicated a high probability that their son would have Down syndrome.

"We were surprised at the number of times termination was brought up, simply based on the high likelihood of having a baby with Down syndrome." They received few messages of congratulations or excitement. At first, they were terrified about what the diagnosis meant for Tommy and for them. 

However, their attitude quickly changed after becoming connected with DSAW. Through the Parent's First Call program, Stephanie and Tom received resources, fraternal support, and hope. 


"Our outlook on this new reality, which seemed overwhelming at times, improved greatly after the first Parent's Night Out that we attended. Meeting others with similar stories to ours made life feel normal again. It was refreshing to be able to openly discuss Down syndrome for the first time with people who knew what we were going through." 

Now, more than ever, support for new and expectant parents is vital.Did you know that individuals with Down syndrome are at significant risk to be the first group of people eliminated from the population? 

DSAW is fighting to change this narrative through the Parent's First Call program. This program provides resources, support, and connections to new and expectant parents who have received a Down syndrome diagnosis. DSAW offers Expectant Parent Packs and New Parent Welcome Baskets, and parents have the option to be connected with a trained Support Parent.  

DSAW's Parent's First Call program creates lives of hope, exceeded expectations, immeasurable joy, and unconditional love by wrapping networks of support and resources around parents to address the unique, yet surmountable, challenges facing the Down syndrome community. Since the program's inception in April 2016, DSAW has provided resources and support to more than 70 new and expectant parents across the state and trained more than 50 Support Parents -- and this is just the beginning. The Parent's First Call program is changing lives. 

The Parent's First Call program was so important to Stephanie and Tom that they have now become Support Parents themselves. "The chance to help someone in our same situation is incredible. The Parent's First Call program is the first step to realizing that life with a child with Down syndrome will not be as scary as it may seem, and that everything will be okay." 

Not everyone can be a Support Parent like Stephanie and Tom, but we are counting on the overwhelming support of our community to make the Parent's First Call program a success. When you make a donation to DSAW, you support the Parent's First Call program, along with DSAW's other life-changing programs and services. Together, we can help individuals with Down syndrome exceed expectations and live amazing lives. Will you make a year-end gift to support our vital work? We couldn't do it without you! 

Dawn Nuoffer
Executive Director
Down Syndrome Association of Wisconsin