I am proud to share that a photograph that I took of my brave friend Lauren Cooper of Aspen Street Cakes and her daughter Molly, will be published in the Pantsuit Nation Book, due on shelves this Friday, May 5th, 2017. My photo is nothing without Lauren’s story and her courage sharing it with Pantsuit Nation.
In Lauren’s own words:
This is my thirteen-year-old daughter, Molly. She has Rett syndrome, a neurological disorder that affects one in ten thousand girls and women worldwide. Molly cannot walk or talk and often has uncontrolled hand movements, much like the ones Donald Trump made fun of and mocked in reporter Serge Kovaleski. I have watched, often silently, as my daughter is stared at. I have watched as people have pointed and spoken in hushed whispers, “What is wrong with her?” I have spent tireless hours educating others on disability and acceptance, and my fears now have become a hard reality.
Not only does my family face catastrophic cuts to the social service programs that allow us to care for her at home, but I fear that the walls to tolerance and acceptance which we have worked so hard to chip away at are being slowly built back up. How long before children think it is okay to mock, ignore, and marginalize her? How long before she realizes that she is not a valued member or our society? Here is my plea. If you see a disabled child, please, speak to them, smile at them, let their parents know that you are committed to taking care of the most vulnerable members of our society.
This and the other stories that lie within the pages of this book are testimonials, they are bleeding hearts. They are of perseverance and survival. I am proud of each and every member and of the moderator/editor Libby Chamberlain, for her fight for equality and inclusion. She first gave us a place to feel safe and heard and she and Flatiron Books have now given a voice to the voiceless. The community that it created in those early days of pantsuit solidarity, at the polls, and in the days following the election are a testament to the beauty that remains in our country and of the distance that we have left to travel.
Lauren and her husband Kevin are two of the strongest people I know. They are creatives and small business owners, they are active community members and they are the wise and the playful parents of three children. They navigate life with a disabled child with a stern bow and with the utmost confidence in the darkest of storms. They fall asleep and wake up to uncertainty each day with Molly, yet still find the time to fight for funding for continued Rett syndrome research and for the most vulnerable members of our community. And through all this, they still find a way to create and contribute beauty to the world in their spare moments.
If you’d like to make a donation to help Molly’s family to buy a wheelchair accessible van, to safely and easily transport Molly about town, please do so here:
If you’d like to learn more about Rett Syndrome or would like to donate to the Rett Foundation please do so here: