MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – It’s news no parents ever expects to hear: Your child has Down syndrome.
Thanks to a Minnesota mom and your generosity, that day will be a little brighter.
We first shared the story behind Jack’s Basket in October: A family is fighting to change the way the diagnosis is delivered, working to fill parents with hope through a basket of gifts.
Carissa and Chris Carroll weren’t prepared for what’s happened since sharing their son’s story. After Jack was born, a nurse offhandedly told Chris their baby had Down syndrome, leaving it up to him to tell Carissa when she woke up.
Carissa’s since made it her mission to celebrate each baby born with Down syndrome with the delivery of Jack’s Basket.
WCCO viewers’ outpouring of support will help the Carrolls reach families across the country.
Before, she’d only made a few.
Now, with more than $8,000 in donations and countless gifts, she has enough to fill more than 130 baskets for hospitals.
“I couldn’t believe it. I was blown away by the response,” Carissa Carroll said.
Like an assembly line, the Carrolls pack up bags to create a new beginning for families.
“Baskets are gifts,” Carissa Carroll said. “It’s fun. It really is.”
Books, toys and bibs have all been donated.
“The mail carrier was even, like, ‘What is going on, what is going on with all these gifts?'” Carissa Caroll recalled.
Heather Ellis received one three weeks ago when Dylan was born.
“It’s really comforting,” Ellis said. “They’re just as special as any other child out there, and it should be a happy moment for parents.”
A few moms will now be on call to make the delivery to metro hospitals, and other states are starting up a similar system.
And it all stems from an idea that started as a way to make things a little easier for parents, one that little Jack made possible.
“We are so blessed that we can bless other families with that. I’m so thankful,” Carissa Carroll said.
The Carrolls have partnered with Gigi’s Playhouse, an organization in St. Louis Park that helps kids with Down syndrome learn life skills.
It costs about $60 to make a basket and another $15 for shipping.
Learn more at the Strength for the Climb website.