EVANSTON, Ill. – In its 43rd year, Northwestern University Dance Marathon (NUDM) raised more than triple its #GivingTuesday goal of $43,000 to raise more than $132,000. NUDM had originally set out to fund 1,000 life-changing speech therapy sessions for individuals with Down syndrome through the Amina Grace Speech and Language program at GiGi’s Playhouse. Each speech therapy session costs only $43 and can give an individual the confidence to thrive for the rest of their lives. Yesterday, NUDM successfully funded the entire program.
The Amina Grace Speech and Language Pathology program was created in loving memory of Amina Grace by her parents, Munawar and Maura:
“The first night that Amina was born, it was the middle of the night, and a nurse came in and I was feeding Amina with an eyedropper because she couldn’t swallow. And the nurse was crying and crying and she kept saying ‘I’m sorry, I’m so sorry.’ And I was heartbroken. And I remember I held Amina tight, and I promised her that I would have it my mission to show the world the possibilities–not the roadblocks–for people with Down syndrome, and I would help her fulfill her highest potential. And I’m doing that.”
The program was designed to fulfill and expand the communication needs of Literacy Program participants of all ages.
“Most of you probably don’t realize, but it takes 70 muscles to say one word. That’s hard for most people with Down syndrome,” said Maura Cullen, Amina Grace’s mother.
GiGi’s Playhouse is a nationwide network of Down syndrome achievement centers that impacts the lives of children and adults with Down syndrome through free educational and therapeutic programs. Through these programs, campaigns and community engagements, GiGi’s aims to change the world’s outdated perception of individuals with Down syndrome in a movement toward global acceptance for people of all abilities.
To learn more about GiGi’s Playhouse, visit gigisplayhouse.org.
Northwestern University Dance Marathon:
Now in its 43rd year, NUDM is the largest entirely student-run philanthropy in the nation. Since 1975, NUDM has raised more than $17 million for more than 30 different charities. Last year, NUDM raised over $1 million dollars for its sixth consecutive year in support of Blessings in a Backpack — an organization that, through an all-volunteer network, mobilizes communities, individuals and resources to provide food on the weekends for elementary school children across America who might otherwise go hungry — and the Evanston Community Foundation.
To learn more about NUDM, visit www.nudm.org.