When we first heard the words, “Your son has Down Syndrome,” we couldn’t fathom the journey our family would embark.
Just 30 years ago, babies born with Down syndrome were sent directly to institutions without any medical care and were experimented on. Those that survived lived on average to the age of 25. Horribly, this practice still occurs around the world.
But in the US, the future for children with Down Syndrome is changing. Today, children with the diagnosis of Down Syndrome live on average to age 60. There are people driving, getting married, starting their own businesses, buying their own homes, and that is just the beginning. How?
It all starts with: Early Intervention
On this journey, we found two early intervention programs: the Intervention Center for Early Child (ICEC) and the United Cerebral Palsy of Orange County (UCP). They have been the answers to our prayers. For decades, they have helped SO many families like ours with babies that have all kinds of special needs from Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, Autism, Micro-Premies, and other medical miracles.
Starting at 6 weeks old, Knightly began attending ICEC and UCP twice a week. He receives group therapy at ICEC and has one-on-one infant stimulation therapy at home through UCP. Every 6 months, a coordinator comes to assess every area of how Knightly is growing and measures where there are any delays. We are given options and resources to help him develop in those areas.
These organizations have become family to us as they have walked with us side-by-side and held our hands through the toughest of times. Through the people we’ve met along this journey, we’ve learned more about hope, change, and healing. Most importantly, Knightly is happily growing and thriving and eating and laughing and playing — thanks to God and organizations like ICEC and UCP. We cannot express how much God has shown us His love, His hope, and His joy through the therapists, the families, and the incredible babies. Where once the world saw impossibilities, these early intervention programs have been a part of making the impossible possible and helping babies grow up to reach their full potential.
ALL the baby games and activities in the party were exactly the kind of playful therapy Knightly has every week. It is “play” for a purpose. And, we’re so happy to create a celebration for our family and friends for Knightly’s very first birthday to celebrate his life, the journey, and to raise awareness and funds for these therapy organizations – a party for a purpose.
As a special first birthday gift, we asked all Knightly’s friends and families to donate in lieu of gifts to these two organizations with our own specially designed site:
Knightly’s therapies costs $125 per baby per session and they make all the difference in the world for families like us.
Knightly’s birthday party theme circulated around this poignant quote from Walt Disney’s Dumbo:
- Knightly’s Open Snack Bar included all organic, non GMO, natural, gluten free, no preservatives healthy snacks for babies including organic milk, baby puree smoothies, and fruit and cereal puffs
The decor was designed by the talented Y-Co Nguyen of Bzzy Bee!
Drinks in a barrel (like in the movie) with balloons to create a little bubbles coming out of the barrel! Cute touch, Bzzy Bee!!
Birthday cake and desserts from the talented Mr. & Mrs. Creamery!
Mr. & Mrs. Creamery also designed custom artisanal ice creams to go with the party theme: Peanut Butter + Popcorn!
- Photo Booth in the Clouds/Instagram included puffy cloud pillows and a cloud with a sky blue backdrop for kids and parents alike to enjoy. All guests were asked to instagram tag the photos to #knightlyturnsone
Designed by the talented Y-Co of BzzyBee was a station for guests to just enjoy and take photos of themselves!
- Baby Activities included a baby pool of various textures and toys as a baby stimulation exercise to let babies enjoy and get exposed to a variety of textures, a parachute to lift up and down above the babies, Elefun for kids to catch butterflies, and yoga balls that are popular physical therapy toys for babies to strengthen their muscles
- Doljabi Voting Station | Knightly celebrated his Korean heritage with a traditional Doljabi. In the tradition, the baby chooses from an assortment of items placed on a blanket that is to predict his “destiny”.
We had a little fun with this tradition and Knightly got to choose from a Jedi knight, the dark knight (Batman), Samurai, X-men and muppet.
He chose X-men, which is perfect because it is a genetic mutation to enhance the human race. All guests were able to vote on raffle tickets beforehand for a prize.
- Donation Wall | Guests were asked to gift Knightly with a donation to both his therapy groups on a table that contained the story behind his therapies and his journey
- Milestone Wall | We hung a photo for each month of Knightly’s life along with a list of the milestones we celebrated for each month – we LOVE this one <3
more details and events from the party!
His ADORABLE first birthday crown, designed by the talented Little Blue Olive
Designed to mimic what the little storks carried in Dumbo when they delivered their babies, we had favors for all the kiddos, including therapy educational baby/kid toys for their growing brains and a pair of baby sunglasses just for style!
Aviators for babies. Freakin’. Adorable.
LOVE this outfit – Knightly got styled by the super talented wardrobe stylist – Styled by Connie!!! I no longer can shop without her – she’s the best.
Our baby boy’s 1st happy birthday blow-out-the-candle cake moment!
And a fun show for the kiddos (and ok really for me as well cuz I LOVED this show when I first saw it): a Bubble Show with the best bubblologist Aidan Park of Bubblemania & Co.
After the party, we enjoyed some private family time with Knightly’s very own dairy-free smash vanilla cupcake (he’s got a dairy allergy) from Sensitive Sweets! Surprisingly very yummy!
Our little thank you cake from the talented A Wish and a Whisk for his therapists and vendors!
Happy birthday our little darling <3
And thank you, thank you to you amazing friends, family, and readers – for all the love and support and joy you’ve brought us and little Knightly in his very first year!
Stay tuned this November! Knightly’s birthday is going to be FEATURED on HOSTESS WITH THE MOSTESS!!!!! EEEEEEKKKK!!
- Photography and Inspirational Posters | D. Park Photography
- Event Coordination, Design and Stationery | Bzzy Bee
- Custom Artisan Ice Cream and Desserts (Birthday Cake, Cake Pops, Panna Cotta, Tiramisu) | Mr. & Mrs. Creamery
- Baby Wardrobe Styling | Styled by Connie
- “one” Birthday Crown | Little Blue Olive
- Bubble Show | Bubblemania & Co.
- Baby Smash Cupcake (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Soy-Free, Nut-Free) | Sensitive Sweets
- Therapy Activities/Toys | Donated by Intervention Center for Early Childhood
- Favor Burlap Bags | Papermart
- Favor Toys | Oriental Trading Co.
- Thank You Cake (Blue with Clouds) | A Wish and a Whisk
- Knightly’s Outfit | Straw fedora and aviator sunglasses by Children’s Place, Shorts and boat shoes by Zara, Linen shirt by Banana Republic
support babies like knightly
Check out youcaring.com/knightly to support babies like Knightly and hear David’s story of how Knightly’s changed his life: