Jasper family participating in buddy walk for Down Syndrome
by Jennifer Cohron
Sep 26, 2010 | 3088 views | 0 0 comments | 29 29 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Kenzlee Langley will have her own team, “Krazee for Kenzlee,” in PADS’ 11th annual Buddy Walk on Oct. 17 in Hoover. (Photo Special to the Eagle)
Kenzlee Langley will have her own team, “Krazee for Kenzlee,” in PADS’ 11th annual Buddy Walk on Oct. 17 in Hoover. (Photo Special to the Eagle)
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Tabitha Langley was not prepared to hear that her newborn daughter had Down Syndrome four years ago.

She avoided literature on the subject until a blood test confirmed Kenzlee's diagnosis 10 days after her birth.

Langley was shocked by the news.

"I was 27. I didn't think I could have a child with Down Syndrome," she said.

Langley has learned a lot about Down Syndrome since then.

For example, nearly 80 percent of children with Down Syndrome are born to women younger than 35, according to the National Down Syndrome Society.

The incidence of Down Syndrome increases significantly with the age of the mother because older women don't have as many children.

In the beginning, Langley also found herself worrying about Kenzlee's life expectancy.

"The books make you think that they're going to die tomorrow because of all the health problems that they can have," Langley said.

The truth is that the average life span of a person with Down Syndrome is 60 today, compared to 25 in 1983.

Kenzlee has a small hole in heart. She has had to have tubes in her ears three times and suffers from nasal congestion.

Other than that, Kenzlee is an average little girl who enjoys playing with baby dolls and her imaginary friend.

Kenzlee has a few developmental delays, but her mother suspects that her daughter's Down Syndrome isn't to blame for all of them.

"She didn't walk until she was almost 3, but that was just stubbornness," Langley said.

Langley and her husband have found a support system for their family at Arc of Walker County and Parent Advocates Down Syndrome (PADS), a nonprofit in central Alabama.

This year, they will be participating in PADS' 11th annual Buddy Walk on Oct. 17 from 2 to 4 p.m. at Regions Park in Hoover. The funds raised support PADS programs and the Adult Down Syndrome Clinic at UAB.

Langley said it helps to meet other parents at the event who have older children living with Down Syndrome.

"Acceptance has changed over the years. When their kids were born, they were told that they needed to put them in an institution," Langley said.

The Langleys' team, Krazee for Kenzlee, has finished in second place in fund raising for the past two years. This year they are hoping for first place and to beat their record of $13,500.

Langley is also trying to learn more life lessons every day that she needs to raise a child with Down Syndrome.

"It has really humbled me as a person. It's taught me patience, which I'm still working on," Langley said.

Donations for Krazee for Kenzlee may be mailed to 4465 Highway 195, Jasper, AL, 35503.

Registration for the Buddy Walk is available online at www.downsyndromealabama.org.