GiGi’s Playhouse, a local Down syndrome achievement center, will host its fifth annual 3.21-Mile Run Sept. 7 at Forest Park. This year’s youth honoree is 11-year-old Anna Skomp of Noblesville.
The run supports the growth of GiGi’s Playhouse’s Indianapolis location and its 400 participants who have Down syndrome and families that benefit from its free therapeutic, educational, wellness and career programs.
This year’s fundraising goal is $55,000, money the organization’s leadership say is vital to helping GiGi’s achieve its mission of helping both youth and adults
Skomp, a fifth-grader at Noblesville Schools, has Down syndrome but also was born with a heart defect that has required three open-heart surgeries. The Skomp family discovered Gigi’s Playouse in 2015.
“Anna loves GiGi’s and so do I,” said Debbie Skomp, Anna’s mother and a special education teacher who learned Anna would have Down syndrome through prenatal testing. “I’m a planner, anyway, so, the pre-diagnosis was a blessing for me. It allowed me time to read and research. Our family even started attending monthly parent meetings for children with Down syndrome while I was pregnant, so by the time Anna was born we had already gone through the emotional roller coaster of the diagnosis and could celebrate her.
“GiGi’s is such a great place to connect with other families and see that you’re not alone. We’ve made some life-long friendships through GiGi’s that have provided tremendous support and resources.”
“Down syndrome is not a disease and there is no cure,” GiGi’s Playhouse Executive Director Denisse Jensen said. “It’s not going away. It’s the largest chromosomal disability in our country, and yet it’s the least funded. This run is critical in helping us expand our programs and help more children with Down syndrome, no matter their skill level or their family’s ability to pay.”
The 3.21 Run kicks off with open registration at 2 p.m., along with live music, a kids’ carnival and a Silly Safaris show. The Kids Dash for Down syndrome will begin at 4 p.m., followed immediately by the 3.21-Mile Run and a 1-Mile Inspirational Walk.
To register a team, learn more about the event, volunteer or become a sponsor, visit p2p.onecause.com/gigisindy321k2019/teams. Registration is $35. Kids 12 and under are $15. All registered attendees will receive a shirt and medal.