Welcome to Down Right Happy! My name is Danielle Procopio and I founded this site to connect with others about the unique experience of special needs parenting. I also want to educate, communicate and advocate for our kids to change the world, one blog post at a time.
I have been married to my husband Dan since 2008 and we had our son Ethan on July 13, 2010. Our daughter Elisa was born on July 17, 2014 with a surprise: an extra chromosome. She was diagnosed with Down syndrome and a major heart defect requiring open heart surgery when she was 3 months old. We have an AWESOME medical team (you will hear me sing their praises on multiple occasions) helping to manage her care and have found some support in our local Down syndrome organization. Some of our most meaningful connections have been made thanks to social media! We found other parents sharing advice and support via the internet and we have made new friends. Often, I have joked that the village it takes to raise our Elisa is out on the internet… hence our Virtual Village was born.
While much of my blogging is about our experiences raising Elisa, it’s important to know there is more to me than my kids. Many moons before becoming a parent, I completed my undergraduate degree at The University of Toledo and my Master of Public Health at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Go Heels!). My education led me to working in healthcare and I came up under a wonderful group of nurses who taught me more than I learned in any classroom. Thanks to them, I became pretty competent in a hospital and pharmacy. I also could play an awesome nurse on television… fast forward to giving birth to my daughter, finding she had complex special needs, and I was able to navigate our overwhelming medical situation pretty deftly. I continue to work full-time and volunteer with several non-profit organizations. I love music, reading (actual paper books as well as your facebook posts) and my fitbit. I also like to cook, drink wine and I tend to swear too much.
I decided to start Down Right Happy partly to share information and resources, partly to create a community to support one another. I hope that you choose to join our Virtual Village and connect with others during their Down syndrome journey. I also hope you are able to utilize some of the resources we have provided on our site. Please contact me with your stories, suggestions or questions at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are always looking for material to share and guests to host on our blog.
Nice to meet you! Welcome to Down Right Happy!