Being different is not only common, but makes each person special.
That’s the message Carrie Bergeron gave students at Westmoreland Road Elementary School during an assembly in the school cafeteria on April 11.
Bergeron, 40, has Down Syndrome, and she enjoys speaking to others about her experiences growing up with the genetic disorder. Those with Down Syndrome have a full or partial extra copy of chromosome 21, which alters the way the human body develops.
Carrie communicates her message by sharing her “Special Tomato” story, which her dad shared with her after a rough day of school work.
“Every year my dad grows a garden and loves to plant tomatoes,” said Carrie. “The year I was born, he was out picking tomatoes, and a differently shaped tomato got his attention. It had a large, smooth, bright red enlarged side that made my dad want to pick it and take a closer look. At supper, the tomato was just as juicy as the others.”
Carrie says something as simple as a tomato explains why she shouldn’t be looked at or treated unlike any other person.
“Even though I’m different like the tomato in my dad’s garden, as a person with Down Syndrome, my family and friends love me even more and want to help me when I need it,” said Carrie. “I guess I am the ‘special tomato’ on our family’s bush!”
Carrie is also a black belt. She showed off some of her self-defense moves to students.
Thank you, Carrie, for visiting Westmoreland Road Elementary School!
To hear Carrie's full story, watch her video by clicking here