Ryan and Jenny Dempster set out on a mission

mission
It seems as if little Riley Dempster takes after her father. She’s full of spunk, is a ball of energy and has enough perseverance to fight the odds. The little tyke was diagnosed with 22q Deletion Syndrome (DiGeorge Syndrome) at birth. After a long year and so odd months with a tracheotomy and gastronomy to feed her, Riley learned to breathe on her own. It was not long after in January of 2011 she was able to swallow despite what her doctors had said.  Her mother Jenny was right. She had convinced herself and her family that Riley would have enough fight in her to make a grave comeback. However, the doctors told the family Riley would have to live on the trach and g-tubes for the rest of her life.  Riley is currently a happy, healthy toddler doing toddler things like fighting with her siblings and playing in the playground exhausting her parents.  Although she will have to face other challenges along the road there is nothing she cannot handle.

Riley celebrated her 3rd birthday in April – with a pool party, of course! She is an avid swimmer now, and loves to plunge underwater – maybe she’ll be a marine biologist? She loves animals (especially her dogs), ice cream, and playing baseball (must run in the family.)

Riley was fortunate in that she was diagnosed with the ‘chromosome abnormality’ at a very young age and was able to receive the help she needed from health experts and professionals alike. But that’s not always the case. Upon this discovery Jenny and Ryan Dempster set out on a mission. After their child had been diagnosed with the syndrome they felt the need to teach others what they had learned along the road to recovery. As scared parents who had gone through a treacherous and long awaited couple of years they set out on a mission to teach and support others with 22q. Low and behold the Dempster Family Foundation was formed.

22q Deletion Syndrome is considered by many as a very rare diagnosis, but the reality is 1 out of 1,200 children have it. The problem is, doctors are not required to test for it therefore most cases remain undiagnosed.

Anyone interested in learning more about Jenny and Ryan Dempster can log on to their site, http://http://dempsterfamilyfoundation.org/ There you can learn about 22q, the foundation’s mission, more about Jenny and Ryan and their beautiful family including Riley and her story.  Also, make sure to sing “Happy Birthday” to Riley on April 1. She will be turning the BIG 4!

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