A Family adapts to new challenges of a child with Down SyndromeSubmitted: 11/13/2013
Story By Melissa Constanzer

GLEASON - We all want perfect, healthy, and happy babies but sometimes things don't go as perfectly as planned. One Gleason woman and her family learned how to accept this.

"The second I looked at the picture, I knew he had Down Syndrome," said Shannon Staskiewicz.

Shannon Staskiewicz couldn't lose that thought when she first saw her new baby boy.

"I was depressed, I was angry, I was grieving, you know, I expected to have this perfect little boy. And while he is perfect in his own way, it took a long time to make that connection. When I looked at him, all I saw was Down Syndrome, I didn't see Hunter," says Shannon.

She couldn't prepare for this. So she turned to other mothers online for help.

"I, you know, connected with a number of mom's on face book and they were so helpful. You know, just to say, that's normal, you know, it's normal to be sad, it's normal to be angry, but now you need to accept him for who he is," said Shannon.

But the family couldn't afford for the anger to last long. Hunter needed lots of care and attention.

"About twenty-five to forty percent of all Down Syndrome babies have some form of cardiac malformation," said Dr. Dennis McFadden, Shannon's OB/GYN.

Hunter had a hole in his heart that healed on its own. But he was born with breathing issues. His lungs aren't as strong as they should be.

"With Hunter, putting him in daycare doesn't work well. He doesn't have a very good immune system...Three days, he would be home sick," says Staskiewicz.

Shannon had to quit her job to take care of Hunter. It put extra stress on her family but she believes it was worth it. The only difference from her other children is that Hunter grows and learns at a slower rate.

"So it's just that longer extended timeline. Otherwise he's stubborn, he's sweet, he is, you know, can get into things that he's not supposed to. We're just getting ready to install a baby gate because now with him being more mobile, he's into everything," stated Shannon.

"We're not going to let the fact that he has Down Syndrome hold him down, or let anything get in his way because he can do everything anybody else can do," says Shannon.

Shannon has the same dreams and goals for Hunter as her other two children. But the road will undoubtedly be longer and tougher.

"I think it's very important to, have as much warning as you can from the patient standpoint. This can be a very shocking experience that can really be emotionally challenging at the time of birth," says Dr. McFadden.

"It's okay to, you know, be angry and he is worth it. He is absolutely, 100 percent worth every second," said Shannon.

If you want to learn more about Shannon's story, check out the Hello, Hunter Facebook page.

Related Weblinks:
Hello, Hunter - The Facebook Page

Text Size: + Increase | Decrease -
| Print Story | Email Story
Sponsored in part by HodagSports.com


Play Video

RICE LAKE - The Merrill football team doesn't feel it got the respect it deserved when WIAA playoff brackets came out last weekend. The Bluejays shared a Great Northern Conference championship.

But they were pinned to a number 8 seed, the lowest in the bracket, and travel to face top-seeded Rice Lake in a Division 3 Level 1 game Friday night.

Recent history doesn't favor Merrill in the playoffs. It has lost six straight playoff openers, dating to 2009.

+ Read More

MINOCQUA - By the time most of us finish breakfast, we already start planning what to eat for lunch.

For some kids all around the world, that next meal sometimes never comes.

The Food for Kidz Minocqua committee will lend a helping hand to change that Saturday morning.

Lakeland Union High School's common area will transform into a full-blown assembly line.

Food for Kidz volunteers will pour and pack ingredients into plastic bags.

The goal is 175,000 packed meals.

Food for Kidz needs more volunteers by tomorrow to meet that goal.

"If you haven't experienced this, come out and try it and you'll go away with just a great feeling," said Food for Kidz co-chair John Breiten.

Kids and adults of all ages are welcome to walk in to volunteer.

The food packages will be shipped off to anywhere from Honduras to Mozambique.

Some special meals will be set aside and sent to local communities in the Northwoods.

"It's just a great, fun community event. I think the kids especially take something away that they are giving beyond themselves," said Food for Kidz sponsor and Lakeland Union High School Spanish teacher Karen Roerich.

Walk-in volunteers are welcome to attend either packing shift tomorrow morning.

The first shift is from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. The second shift is from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

If you can't make it out to Lakeland Union High School Saturday, donations are always welcome.

Call John Breiten at 715-686-7570 for more info.

+ Read More

Play Video

RHINELANDER - A simple grooming process many people take for granted helps keeps John honest with himself.

"You can't think too far ahead, at least that's the situation I find myself in," John said.

Convicted of drunk driving seven times, John -- who Newswatch 12 is only identifying by his first name -- faced a harsh reality when he ended up in prison after three arrests in just 13 months.

+ Read More

WAUSAU - Scott Walker faced a tough crowd at times in Iowa during his failed presidential bid. Now, an undercover video released this week may show those protesters were planted on purpose.

The Journal Sentinel reported the videos show activist Scott Foval bragging about disrupting a Walker rally in Iowa. Those videos were released by conservative activist James O'Keefe.

Foval talks about bringing people out of state into Wisconsin, but doesn't give a reason why.

+ Read More

Play Video

WAUSAU - People often leave unused prescriptions in their cabinets at home. But Wisconsin's Attorney General hopes you turn those prescriptions in Saturday to help solve a growing problem.

October 22 is Wisconsin's Prescription Drug Take-Back Day.

Attorney General Brad Schimel said more people die from accidental drug overdoses in Wisconsin than from car crashes.

+ Read More

MILWAUKEE - Wisconsin's utility regulator is planning to spend more money on energy projects in rural areas, including a plan to help underwrite the use of systems that convert cattle manure into electricity.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that the systems known as manure digesters also help farms manage waste, which has become an increasingly controversial issue in Wisconsin as the size of dairy farms grows.

Wisconsin Public Service Commission officials say they're considering spending $10 million to $20 million on manure digester technology.

The commission also voted Thursday to authorize at least $7.7 million in funding for rebates for solar, wind and geothermal projects around the state that would keep a rebate program in place for energy consumers.

+ Read More

Play Video

RHINELANDER - The Northwoods Land Trust helps protect about 12,000 acres of natural lands in six northern Wisconsin counties.

That amount of conservation is a big job. But the organization employs just one full-time and two part-time staff members.

The Land Trust relies on the help of about 40 volunteers to accomplish its mission, volunteers like Nancy Richmond.

+ Read More
+ More General News

Click Here