Community Health & Environment Sports

North End Family Runs Boston Marathon for Mass. Down Syndrome Congress Team

North Ender Gary Forziati and his sister, Barbara Forziati Vanderwilden ran in this year’s Boston Marathon to benefit the Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress team. They raised $20,000 dollars for the down syndrome charity. Gary’s marathon time was 3 hours 43 minutes and Barbara ran in 4hrs 56 min.

Barbara Forziati Vanderwilden & Gary Forziati at the 2011 Boston Marathon

Gary was born, raised and still lives in the North End. Barbara was a resident here until age 33 and is currently in Hamilton where she has a son, Max, with Down syndrome. The following is from an article that appeared in Hamilton Wicked Local:

It is a positive outlook that the Vanderwilden family wants to share with others. “When your child is born with Down syndrome and you are given the news, usually in a very poor way, they take so much out of the equation,” Barbara Vanderwilden said. “They focus on all the things the child isn’t going to be able to do – instead of focusing on all the things they can do. This mindset has to change. We treat him as normal as we can and focus on what he can accomplish – this has made him successful.” Vanderwilden is determined to change things one mile at a time.

How you can help:                 Click this donation link for Barbara and Max Vanderwilden’s personal web page to help raise money to support Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress.

By the numbers

3  Number of copies of the 21st chromosome an individual has instead of 2 causing Down syndrome.

691 Number of babies born with Down syndrome – one if every 691 babies that is born.

5,000 Number of people living with Down syndrome in Massachusetts

60 Number of years for life expectancy for people with Down syndrome – this has increased dramatically from 25 years in 1983.