Family Advocacy

My sister is an amazing woman. She’s bright, intelligent, beautiful and driven. She has the whole world in front of her and I am amazed by her daily.

Currently she is watching Eli while Barry and I work. I am reminded of how blessed we are to have her- the way she loves her nephew is truly amazing.
She is going to school so she can become a doctor, and just recently wrote an essay to her perspective college defining why she wants to go into the medical field.

I think reading it will say it all…and I wanted to document how very moving the love of my family is. So fierce, strong and loyal. What did I ever do to deserve them? We need more doctors like her!
Love you guys ❤

I once read that success is based on purpose and that purpose can be found in the obstacles which we overcome. Since obstacles are inevitable so too is finding the motivation for fulfilling your destiny. A simple, yet irrevocable mantra to live by and one that changed my path in life. A year ago my goal was seemingly the same. I wanted to go to medical school and by all accounts I believed I deserved to get into a prestigious program. Yes,I had worked hard throughout my undergraduate career maintaining two jobs, volunteering at Texas Children’s Hospital, and taking a full schedule of classes. Yet, several things were still awry.
Like most of my peers I unintentionally and naively believed that working hard equated to obtaining your goals. Secondly, I knew where I wanted to end up, but I lacked a purpose to make that eventual goal possible. Hard work is mandatory for success, but it’s not equipped to deliver you to your final path. It is the coupling of hard work with the motivation of a dynamic purpose that in the end demands success. The scope of my ambition, purpose, and the reason I was determined to obtain a career in the field of medicine was not revealed until recently. Eli Newman, my nephew,was born on April 28th, 2012 with Trisomy-21. Introductory genetics teaches us that there are three chromosomes rather than the typical pair located on the twenty-first autosome.
The lesson might go on to explain how the extra copy of genetic information results in varying levels of mental retardation, congenital heart defects, gastrointestinal issues, and other health problems. What biology and science cannot prepare anyone for is how this one individual with an incurable genetic disorder can alter your entire world. Despite being merely a year old Eli has already demonstrated the strength to overcome several developmental hurdles via occupational and physical therapies. In addition, Eli receives some of the most cutting edge products that resulted from current Down syndrome research.

Unfortunately, this is not the case for all children with Down syndrome or others facing adult dependency with special needs. This should be a huge concern to persons within the medical field. While cancer and Alzheimer’s remain as some of the top funded areas of research disorders such as Down syndrome fall behind. These children can reach autonomy and lead independent lifestyles making contributions to society if the misconception of the limitations of individuals with this disorder and others with special needs changes. Conversely, there needs to be an increased partnership between pediatricians and those conducting research enabling parents with special needs children to become more educated on therapies, medications, and supplements that statistically show an enhanced way of life. It is my dream to make this a reality and aid those like my nephew into living what is deemed a normal life. Eli, like everyone else, deserves the opportunity to go to college, obtain a career, get married, and have children. I fervently believe this is possible despite his karyotype.
Down syndrome needs innovation. To me, that is what medicine is all about. This is why people become physicians to bring upon change to areas once deemed inconceivable to fix. Without individuals with this level of passion and dedication small pox would not have been eradicated, ready made bio-artificial organs created utilizing stem cells would not exist, and potential cures for AIDS and cancer would not be on the rise. My life experiences and education have led me here, and I am ready to take the next step towards the inconceivable. Please join me on this incredible journey to help change the world of medicine as we know it today.
-Sarah Sendelbach


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