Monday, October 5, 2015

18th Annual Buddy Walk® - Saturday, October 10th

Down Syndrome Indiana looks forward to celebrating the lives of individuals with Down syndrome this Saturday, October 10th!

Buddy Walk® Timeline

9:00am            Registration Begins

9:30am            Interactive Presentation with Amazon John and Silly Safaris

10:00am          Interactive Puppet Show with Max the Moose

10:15am          Yoga with Laura Haehl, Invoke Studio Yoga, in the Self Advocate Area

10:25am          Avon Aerial Orioles performance

10:50am          Live, Laugh Dance performance

11:15am          Welcome, Team Awards, Ceremony and David DeSanctis

12:00pm          Walk begins!

12:15pm          Monon Jazz Group performance

12:30pm          Lunch Tent Opens, sponsored by G.T. South’s Rib House and Pepsi Co. 

1:30pm            Jennie DeVoe concert

Celebration Plaza is located in White River State park, very near to the WRSP Welcome Center. For those of you using GPS, the best address to use is: 801 W. Washington Street, Indianapolis, IN 46204. Please click here for driving directions.


In Indianapolis, the Buddy Walk® presented by Down Syndrome Indiana is a 2.6 mile no-fee walk along the canal beginning at Celebration Plaza in White River State Park. Proceeds from the walk help fund Down Syndrome Indiana programs and services that help individuals with Down syndrome and their families.

The Buddy Walk® has three primary goals:

  1. To promote acceptance & inclusion of people with Down syndrome;
  2. To raise funds locally and nationally for education, research and advocacy programs;
  3. To enhance the position of the Down syndrome community, enabling us to positively influence local and national policy and practice.

Throughout the day please visit a Why I Walk station, stop by our DSI table to learn about the programs and Services of Down Syndrome Indiana and how you can get involved; gather information on resources throughout Indiana at our information tent, shop for an early holiday gift while also supporting DSI at our marketplace tent, visit the kids’ activity tent sponsored by Noble of Indiana and indulge in kettle corn or a lemon shake up or a beverage from Four Day Ray Brewery. Don’t forget to rally your team for a team photo!!

  • Monday, September 21, 2015

    Marsie Celebrates her 80th Birthday!

    By Guest Bloggers Bill and Barb Mathauer

    How can I describe MARTHA “MARSIE” MATHAUER?

    At the beginning, schools had no accommodations or programs to teach students with Down Syndrome or any special need students because the teachers didn’t have the education or experience to allow Martha to attend school with her brothers and sisters. 

    No standardized testing or programs were even available to children with Down Syndrome or any other type of learning challenges.  But Martha had a very close family with great relationships and family dynamics abounding.

    Martha’s favorite activities included taking family car rides in the country and trips to Linder’s Ice Cream store, riding her bike, playing with her dogs Spikey and Tippy and parakeets Birdie and JoJo. But the highlight of her day would be visiting with nieces and nephews and she called them all her “grandkids” because she lived with her parents, who referred to them as grandchildren.

    There was lots of interaction with her siblings and later after moving to Greenwood, three of her siblings and their families lived on the same block as Martha and her parents and they all visited her almost daily.

    She enjoyed making craft items, doll clothes, watching TV and was independent in her wants and needs.  Even though she was unable to read or write she loved books:  she would study the cover of each book and use her great imagination to tell you all about the story.  Another highlight of her day with her grandkids was when they brought her their old school workbooks:  she would spend hours tracing the letters and numbers and felt she had her homework to do, too.  Marsie loved make-up and nail polish and lots of magazines.   She loved to help cook and always expressed her ideas about everyday life because she was an integral member of the family, by often reminded her siblings that SHE was the oldest and so they had to do what she wanted ~ resulting in lots of joking around and teasing and of course, always plenty of laughter and fun.

    A new opportunity opened up for Martha which she only dreamed about. She began   going to a sheltered workshop with the Johnson County Association Retarded Citizens at Gateway Services in 1989 in Franklin,  Indiana and she felt a great deal of pride and accomplishment.  She soared with this new independence:  now having her first real JOB outside her home!  She couldn’t wait for the bus to arrive and off she went by herself – what an accomplishment!  She easily made friends and enjoyed their camaraderie and even had a boyfriend “Teddy”.  They attended workshop parties and danced the night away.  This special friendship was another milestone for her, which enhanced her life experiences by growing and maturing in so many ways.

    As time went on, Grandma spent various periods in a nearby nursing home.  Her siblings/ spouses and nieces took turns staying with Martha at night.  We were supposed to be taking care of her. When walking in the door from work there was chicken in the oven ready for us to eat & her clean clothes were in the washer and coffee made every morning - Marsie was taking care of us!

    In 1990, Martha moved outside her home for the first time at age 55.  She moved into a group home about a mile away because her dad had died 11 years earlier and her mom’s declining health warranted a long term care facility.  This nursing home was also within 2 miles from Martha’s new group home operated by Cardinal Services.  Her adjustment went fairly smooth but she lost privileges because she was used to fixing her own food & coffee and now she was unable to perform those tasks without supervision. The other women at the group home had come from institutional settings and were gaining privileges.  There were some learning curves to manage and re-think – especially for the staff.  Martha’s roommate was her best friend from their workshop:  WOW! 

    Martha resided there until undergoing a knee replacement & therapy and then moved in 1997 to North Willow, a facility for physically and mentally challenged adults with their own sheltered workshop facility for the residents.  She was excited to be able to help push a wheelchair for someone or pick up something off the floor for those unable to do it themselves.  She fit in very well and with her outgoing personality, she enjoyed the staff who appreciated her willingness to be the first to volunteer with using a potter’s wheel when the other residents were frightened to try.  She told them it was “neat” and easy to use and before long, the other residents took their turn.  Like any home, there were challenges but Martha plowed thru and continued to joke with others and enjoy herself. 

    Martha continued to see family often and loved to go out to eat, go shopping and was very clever in soliciting a few dollars from family members.  When she received mail, she always looked for a dollar bill or two to be inside.  Martha joined in holiday parties, dressing as a “nun” at Halloween and as a shepherd and as an angel in the Christmas Plays. Our family joined her for these special times and she always enjoyed the visits from Santa.

    She lived at North Willow, which became Golden Living for 18 years.  Then in the spring of 2015, the facility was changing its focus to just serving short-term physical therapy residents. This resulted in finding a suitable and engaging new home.  After much discussion and insistence by her family, we found a wonderful location near family at University Heights Health & Living Center.  When she was leaving North Willow the last time, the staff was pretty emotional at her departure because she had become their family, and ours, too

    Martha gets around her new home in her wheelchair by walking with her feet and likes bingo, manicures, movies and surprises from family members who see her at least weekly if not several times a week.  Recently, Martha celebrated her 80th Birthday on July 24, 2015 with family and festivities!  We believe that Martha is the oldest living Down Syndrome person in the State of Indiana and she is such a blessing to all who meet her.  She has gifted all of us with her humor, laughter and kind heart.      

    Unbeknown to any of Martha’s brothers and sisters, we discovered that when Marsie’s nieces were pregnant, they refused amniocentesis.  They were appalled that their doctor would suggest such a test!  If any one of them had a baby with Down Syndrome, they would love the baby without reservations.  They all loved their Aunt Marsie and couldn’t imagine anyone wanting to try to change their minds by terminating  a pregnancy – it was so cruel and out of the question!  As parents, we were so proud of each of them.  They didn’t see those with challenges to be unworthy.  They were loved by Marsie and she knew how much they all loved her.   

    As these “grandkids” grew up with children of their own, they continue to share their children with Aunt Marsie by visiting, sending her cards and pictures, taking her to a movie and sneaking her an extra dollar bill or two.

    From the day she was born, our mom and dad were not given any hope of her survival past 10 to 15 years.  Doctors suggested putting her in an institution so she wouldn’t be a burden.  But LOVE and FAITH were strong beliefs held by our parents, and what a joy Martha is and how many lives she has touched throughout her life. 

    Marsie has indeed been a wonderful influence in each of our lives and taught each of us Joy, Perseverance, Acceptance and to Seize the Moment by encouraging everyone’s dreams to become a reality.  Marsie has indeed gifted each one of us and is a blessing that keeps on giving with her spunky personality and big smile.  Thank you for letting us share Martha Marsie Mathauer with each of you and hope we always see the gifts in one another without reservation.  We are so fortunate to have Martha enrich our lives – and we thank God for allowing us to be her family. 

    Monday, August 3, 2015

    Understanding Prenatal Testing on September 19th

    With the advances being made in prenatal testing, more and more women are finding out earlier than ever that their child has Down syndrome. Surveys show that too often parents do not receive the rest of the information about what a life with Down syndrome can be like and about available support resources. For those parents who have received information and support, they describe it as a lifeline. This presentation will provide attendees the information to confidently engage our local medical community to ensure parents receive accurate, up-to-date information and support. Come and be that lifeline to the next generation of parents raising a child with Down syndrome.

    Saturday, September 19th

    8:30Am to 4:00PM

    DSI 2nd Floor Ballroom

    708 E Michigan Street Indianapolis, IN 46202


    Please RSVP to or call 317-925-7617

    About the speaker: Mark W. Leach is an attorney in Louisville, Kentucky and serves as the bioethics specialist for the National Center for Prenatal & Postnatal Down Syndrome Resources at the University of Kentucky. He provides training to local Down syndrome organizations on medical outreach. Mark’s daughter is endowed with Down syndrome and his son is endowed with curly, blonde hair. You can read more in Mark’s blog:

    Thursday, July 9, 2015

    New Indiana Law about Prenatal Testing

    HB1093 took effect on July1st. It states that…


    “When a positive result from a test for Down syndrome or any other condition diagnosed prenatally is received, a health care facility or health care provider shall provide to the expectant parent or the parent of the child diagnosed with Down syndrome or any other condition diagnosed prenatally the written information approved and made available by the state department.”


    Down Syndrome Indiana was instrumental in getting this law passed and has already submitted materials to the Indiana State Department of Health for approval and dissemination. A huge thank you to Buffy Smith and Lucy and Marvin Selva for testifying about this important legislation. Their voices helped to get it passed. Gratitude also to Nina Fuller from SMILE on Down syndrome, Kim Dodson from the Arc of Indiana and Representative Ron Bacon for their work on this important piece of legislation.


    Please Save-the-Date for Saturday, September 19th to learn more about this legislation and how to get involved in medical outreach to make sure that medical providers and parents have accurate and up-to-date information about Down syndrome.

    Friday, June 26, 2015

    DSI Summer Picnic on July 11th at Brooks School Park in Fishers

    Join us as we Savor the Sunshine at a Hawaiian themed picnic!


    Down Syndrome Indiana Annual Summer Picnic

    Saturday, July 11th from 11am to 2pm

    at Brooks School Park

    (11780 Brooks School Road, Fishers, IN 46037)


    It will be a fun afternoon in the sun featuring exciting games & activities with friends  and delicious gluten-free food!


    Please RSVP to or call 317-925-7617 if you and your loved ones plan to attend.

    Monday, June 22, 2015


    Down Syndrome Indiana is pleased to welcome its newest staff members Cathy Boyer, DSI Event Coordinator and Annie Smiley, DSI Program Coordinator.

    Cathy graduated from Indiana University Indianapolis with a focus in Non-Profit Management.  Cathy has over 10 years’ experience in the development field managing a diversified fundraising portfolio. Cathy enjoys spending time with her family and traveling.  Cathy is honored to be a part of the DSI team and for the opportunity to build lasting relationships with individuals with Down syndrome and their families. Cathy will be overseeing the Down Syndrome Indiana Buddy Walk®, the DSI D.A.D.S. Golf Outing, the Fly-in, the Summer Picnic and the Holiday Party. Cathy can be reached at

    Annie is a recent graduate of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, where she earned a degree in journalism with a concentration in public relations and a minor in event management. Annie grew up with an older brother that has Down syndrome, whom is the main reason for her involvement in the Ds community. She was awarded the William M. Plater Civic Engagement Medallion in 2015 for her work with individuals with disabilities through Live, Laugh, Dance and the Ability Experience. She says, “I feel honored to work an organization that hits so close to home for me!”  Annie oversees a variety of Down Syndrome Indiana programs including: Volunteer Coordination, Adult Life, the DSI Dancers and the e-newsletter. Annie can be reached at

    Welcome Ladies, Down Syndrome Indiana is thrilled to have you on the team!


    Dedicated to enhancing the lives of individuals with Down syndrome,



    Lisa Wells, Executive Director