WAYLAND — Dr. Seuss once wrote, “A person’s a person, no matter how small.”
Wayland-Cohocton Varsity Volleyball Coach Jennifer Jerome is the proud mother of a very special little person named Briley. Briley is a three-year-old who has Down Syndrome.
Flower City Down Syndrome Network held their biggest annual fundraiser “Buddy Walk” at Webster Thomas High School on Oct. 15.
Briley Francis Jerome was born March 28,2013 and has been a blessing to all who know her.
Jerome brought her daughter to the walk for the first time this year.
The Keuka College Softball and Wayland-Cohocton Varsity Volleyball teams were Team Briley and walked for her. Keuka College Softball Coach Jamie Burke grew up with Jerome in Wayland. They raised about $1,000 for the cause.
“When she was born we did a Down Syndrome Awareness game, and raised $1,000 for our local chapter,” Jerome said. “I didn’t intend for this to become such a big thing, but I coach and teach a lot of people at Wayland-Cohocton. We had 80 people do the walk for Briley.”
There were special shirts made to help with the fundraiser, and Jerome sold 185 of them at $20 each. Many teachers, staff, and students bought T-shirts to help with the cause.
Jerome said Miss NY Teen Leeann Perkowski came with her crown and badge to walk with Briley.
“This is the first time my students walked it,” Jerome said. “Jamie had her whole softball team too. I had family come down from Florida to do the walk. It really was extraordinary.”
Jerome added having a child with special needs has been the best thing in the world.
“Health wise she is phenomenal,” she said. “She was born with a hole in her heart, but it has healed on its own, which is a blessing. She doesn’t have health issues like other kids with Down Syndrome. She can’t verbally community very well, which is hard.”
Jerome said she was honored to meet other families with children that had Down Syndrome.
“It makes you feel like you aren’t alone,” she said.
“Briley has been a special teacher,” Jerome added. “It is a real eye opener for me and my players. She teaches us what is good in life. She is so innocent and teaches us the message of acceptance. We are all unique and have different talents.”
Briley is the number one fan of all her mom’s games,” Jerome said.
“I don’t look at my daughter and see Down Syndrome,” Jerome continued. “I look at my daughter and see my child.”
There were two other Dansville families with children that have Down Syndrome present during the walk. They are Liz Wood with daughter, Maddie, and Stacie Gibson, with daughter, Maddie.