WFAA’s “Daybreak” Co-Anchor Kara Sewell’s only challenge in life may seem getting up way too early at 1:30 a.m. weekdays. But there’s a person in Kara’s life who has provided a greater-than-usual incentive to co-chair the 13th Annual Vine And Diner fundraiser for Dallas’ Ability Connection.
It was her Aunt Penny, who was born developmentally delayed. As a child she suffered a grand mal seizure, and its effects were devastating. Unfortunately organizations like Ability Connection weren’t available for her and others with similar conditions where she lived early on.
Penny’s condition forced her to spend years in a state-supported living center. Eventually she was accepted in a group home and day program in the Texas Panhandle that provided care similar to Ability Connection.
According to Kara, “She blossomed! Her interaction with others increased and she was much happier after finding the best resource to help with her challenges.”
Kara’s Co-Chair Kimber Westphall Clonts’ awareness of the challenges facing people with disabilities was through her childhood neighbor, Andrea, who had Down Syndrome. It was through that relationship that Kimber developed an understanding at an early age of “the importance of every child being included.”
Thanks to fundraising efforts by Kara and Kimber and others, Ability Connection has been able to serve more than 700 people with intellectual and other development disabilities.
A perfect example is Annemarie Carrigan, a young millennial with Down Syndrome. A graduate of Highland Park High School and the University of Central Missouri’s Thrive Program, Annemarie traveled to Guatemala with her church’s youth group to build homes in an impoverished community. Today she is living independently and working for Jan Miller’s Dupree Miller and Associates.
Unfortunately, there are hundreds on the wait list for Ability Connection’s services. But thanks to funds raised through the dinner at The Hall on Dragon on Thursday, November 4, the agency will be able to help more Annemaries, Pennys and Andreas.
For ticket and sponsorship opportunities, call 214.351.2500, ext. 2265.
* Graphic/photo provided by Ability Connection