Four million babies are born in America each year, and nearly 6,000 of those are born with an extra chromosome that results in Down syndrome. On four consecutive July days in 2019, four children with this condition were born on the very same floor of the very same hospital. Down syndrome affects less than .01% of all babies in America, and the chances of a hospital delivering four affected children in four consecutive days is highly unlikely. This unlikely event resulted in a beautiful story that has raised awareness and funding to help other families of children with Down syndrome
These families didn’t initially know that multiple Down syndrome births had occurred in their hospital in such a short amount of time; in fact, it wasn’t until a social worker connected the dots that they became aware of the one another’s stories. As soon as the children were old enough to have a play date, the families began to build an intentional community, partnering together as they studied and equipped themselves to parent and raise these special children. They call themselves the Kennestone Krew in honor of the hospital where they were all born.
In talking with Nancy Labbe, we are reminded that every person is unique, and that we need to learn to love and appreciate differences in all children. Her daughter Emily (born on day 2) is a curious and extremely friendly 8-year-old who never meets a stranger and brings joy to everyone she meets. You never encounter Emily without receiving a hug. The Labbe family, along with the Kennestone Krew, has been very involved in raising funds through the Atlanta Buddy Walk, an annual fundraiser championing those with Down syndrome that raises support for families and research opportunities. They have raised thousands of dollars to support research and advocacy through bake sales, walks, and generous contributions from friends and neighbors.
The Kennestone Krew is our third Hometown Hero Content winner in 2022. Mountain Laurel Chalets is thrilled to donate $1,000 to team Kennestone Krew through the Buddy Walk, and we encourage our guests to consider how they might also support the efforts of Down syndrome research.
As a winner of our Hometown Hero Contest, the whole Kennestone Krew will receive a free, three-night stay in one of our limited-edition Gatlinburg vacation homes.
Truly these kids are our heroes as they teach us to value all people and see the positive in all situations.