Down Syndrome can’t deny the rich and full life of an East Bay woman

Christina Remson may be one of the happiest women on the planet, despite the hand life has given her. Born with Down syndrome 34 years ago to Brentwood parents Mirna and Eric Remson, Christina welcomes everyone she meets with a smile and open arms, and she doesn’t let challenges get in her way. path. There is almost nothing that she won’t try or dream of trying.

“I’ve always tried to be open-minded and try new things, like art classes, dance recitals, Zumba, swimming and horseback riding lessons,” he said. she declared. “I participated in the Special Olympics, the child care and safety courses. I was part of a quinceañera and I was a bubble fairy at my cousin’s wedding. I even grabbed a bouquet at a wedding!

Christina, left, and her mother, Mirna Remson, appeared together recently. “I believe I influenced Christina to reach for the stars, always telling her to work hard and do her best,” Mirna said. “My husband and I have always told her that it might take a little longer to get things done, but it’s okay,” she added. (Charleen Earley – for Bay Area News Group)

She is also active in local programs such as the Aktion Club of East Contra Costa County, serving the community with special needs under the umbrella of Kiwanis International.

“It’s a service club, and we do volunteer work in the community,” said Remson, who was born in San Jose and moved to Brentwood with her family when she was 11. “We also fundraise and donate to nonprofits.”

Christina Remson, 34, from Brentwood, right, doesn’t let Down syndrome stop her from accomplishing anything she wants to do in life, including possibly living at Sunflower Hill in Livermore. Her mother, Mirna Remson, left, shares all of her daughter’s accomplishments that she’s recorded in photo albums over the years, such as her daughter’s 25-pound weight loss and modeling for the American Heart Association . (Charleen Earley – for Bay Area News Group)

Christina is doing her best to lead a healthy lifestyle too.

“I have a healthier lifestyle with better food choices and exercise. I lost 25 pounds! she said.

With weight loss, modeling for the American Heart Association followed.

“My greatest love and privilege is attending a fashion show fundraising event in Brentwood associated with the American Heart Association multiple times,” she said. “I feel beautiful as a model with pretty outfits and makeup. This event is hosted by a heart attack survivor, Allison Harris.

Christina’s parents and 36-year-old brother Eric couldn’t be more proud of all she’s accomplished in her life so far.

“I believe I influenced Christina to reach for the stars, always telling her to work hard and do her best,” said Mirna, who was born in Venezuela and had the opportunity to go to college. in the United States at 24.

“My husband and I have always told her that it might take a little longer to get things done, but it’s okay,” she added.

While pregnant with her second child, Mirna had no idea that Christina had Down syndrome, a condition in which a person has an extra chromosome.

“It was difficult at first, she had a heart problem and had surgery when she was 5 months old, but now she is doing very well,” said Mirna.

Lucky to be a stay-at-home mom to give her daughter more time, Mirna offers advice to parents of children with special needs.

“Have high but realistic expectations,” she said. “Don’t limit your child. Expose them to different situations to gain experience. Join a club. Volunteering makes them feel valued and useful, but ultimately (helps them) become a happy and loving person.

Currently taking an acting and drama class and a fitness class in a program called Be Exceptional by Lynda Green at the Brentwood Community Center, Christina has also participated in the Football Camp for the Stars, a program supported by NFL football players. . With all of her volunteer work, classes and clubs, she is not able to fit into college or employment. His hobbies keep him busy too.

“I love doing puzzles, crafts, canvas painting, math, cursive writing, and reading,” she said. “I like to listen to music, dance, exercise, Zumba, cheerleaders, movies, everything Disney, travel and eat out. I love Arabic food and Venezuelan cuisine, especially the Arepas my mom makes and Starbuck’s refreshments.

Christina’s advice to people with Down’s syndrome is simple.

“Keep making your dreams come true and do what you love in life,” she said. “Try hard, be respectful, volunteer, and love and respect your family.”

Her latest dream, which Christina hopes to someday fulfill, is to have her own place at Sunflower Hill, a non-profit residence for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities – similar to retirement homes – to live, work, learn and s ‘flourish. Mirna said it is a community that enables lifelong living to include a safe quality of life in an environment that supports social, vocational, educational and recreational programs. Unfortunately, Christina’s request to live in the Tri-Valley location of Sunflower Hill was not granted, so the family is hoping another location will be this one.

“I would love to live in Sunflower Hill because I would love to be independent but with the support of my family, (have) new experiences and meet new people,” Christina said.

Christina once caught a 20-pound salmon in Canada, she’s traveled far to many places outside of America, including Angel Falls in Venezuela, and she’s been in three pounds for Down’s syndrome, but her list of things to do does not stop there.

“Christina wants to be famous and go to The Voice and meet Kelly Clarkson,” Mirna said. “And she also wants to meet Richard Simmons – she loves his tapes!”

Charleen earley is a freelance writer and journalism professor at Foothill and Diablo Valley Colleges. Contact her at [email protected] or 925-383-3072.

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