Our Blogs

We love to share our stories and those of our community. Each week, we will feature a family who has a child with special needs. If you know of someone who wants to share their story, please email us at info@kindoftheupstate.org.

FAMILY SPOTLIGHT | APRIL 2024

MEET TINSLEY MEISTER Tinsley is our beautiful 12 year old girl who was diagnosed with autism when she was 3.  Tinsley has many physical limitations as well as demonstrating many behaviors that are associated with autism.   Her biggest challenge is being nonverbal...

FAMILY SPOTLIGHT | MARCH 2024

Finley and Frannie Phillips Hello! We’re the Phillips Family! I’m Erin, wife to my husband Ryan, and mom to our three daughters, Sullivan “Sully” (8), Finley (3), and Frances “Frannie” (3), plus our pups Weller and Goose. Our story began in 2009 when Ryan and I met...

FAMILY SPOTLIGHT | FEBRUARY 2024

Summer: A Girl With A Mighty Heart Summer’s story begins with two parents overjoyed to have a little girl. A brother who adores animals, but thought a sister might be fun too, and a sweet Chocolate lab that would love her forever. But soon, that joy had to compete...

The Windsors’ Story

My husband (Blake) and I grew up in Atlanta, married young, went through medical school and PA school together, and almost 18 years later we are navigating the joyfully complex journey of raising our two young kids. It's as exhausting and rewarding as they all...

Riley’s Story

We are so honored to introduce our son Riley and share his story! Riley is a fun, smart, loving 3 year old little boy. He loves dinosaurs, cars and playing with his friends at school. Riley also has life threatening food allergies, and has anaphylactic allergens to...

Aiden’s Story

At 37 weeks, after a day of not being his usual active self, our doctors made the decision to deliver two weeks earlier than planned. This day would officially become Aiden’s birthday. This was my second pregnancy and second c-section, so I knew the drill and was...

Marin’s Story

I vividly remember having the convo with my husband when we considered having a third child; “imagine if we had a child with health issues?”, wondering if we should stop while ahead. We were excited to find out we were pregnant during the last week of February...

Rachel’s Story

We are the Perkinson family. A Midwest born and raised family who chose to make The Upstate home in August of 2021. We have 6 kids and this is the story of our baby girl. Rachel’s story started 9/16/2016 when she was just 2 year old. We traveled to China to meet...

Emily’s Story

Emily was born on September 1, 2010 in Miami, Florida. Shortly after birth she was admitted into the NICU for low blood sugars and lethargy. After three long weeks of countless tests, doctors could not determine the cause of her low blood sugars. They ultimately...

Hattie’s Story

Though Will, Hattie, and I live in Manning, SC and are not currently an upstate family, I appreciate Kind of the Upstate sharing our story. I grew up in Greenville and took for granted what a blessing it is to have places like the Meyer Center and Shriners Hospital...

Arabelle’s Story

It was a cold, rainy January day in 2019. My husband and I were anticipating an exciting occasion as we prepared to go to doctor. I was halfway through my second pregnancy which meant that I was due for the ultrasound where we would learn the gender of our baby....

Cohen’s Story

The story of our second son, Cohen really starts with his big brother, Nolan. After struggling for years with infertility and finally IVF treatment, we were blessed with the arrival of our first IVF miracle, Nolan.  Both my husband and I thought we would never...

Chandler’s Story

Chandler was born in May of 1993.  He was the completion of our family and the apple of many eyes.  His dad, Grier and I loved him unconditionally and were introduced to a brand-new world.  Or so we thought.  Chandler was born with Down syndrome...

Summer’s Story

Summer’s story begins with two parents overjoyed to have a little girl. A brother who adores animals, but thought a sister might be fun too, and a sweet Chocolate lab that would love her forever. But soon, that joy had to compete with so much sadness as we began to...

Miles’ Story

Miles was born July 2020 in New York City at the height of the Covid pandemic. He was intubated in the delivery room because he wasn’t breathing and was unexpectedly taken to the NICU at the New York Presbyterian Hospital where he would spend the next 6...

Reynold’s Story

Reynolds is an active 9 year old boy who keeps us on our toes. Over the last year, he has had some struggles but he has had even more victories. He is in a new school with the most amazing teachers. He LOVES going to school each day and seems so confident and...

Alton’s Story

Alton Jones Lamm was born on November 3, 2019, a few weeks earlier than expected! My pregnancy was fairly easy and thankfully uncomplicated. The only concern was my family history of Hemophilia A-my father has mild Hemophilia A and my uncle has moderate Hemophilia...

Tinsley’s Story

Tinsley Meister is the youngest of the three Meister kids that completed our family.  She is so loving and brings so much joy to our family despite all the challenges she has had to face through her 11 short years. During my pregnancy, the doctors had concerns with...

Sasha’s Story

Meet Maria and her son, Sasha Boltenko.  When I found out that I was pregnant with my second child,I was so happy,and was hoping that it would be a boy. Sasha came to this world on August 31,2006. He was four weeks earlier than he was expected to arrive. We...

Harleigh’s Story

This is the story of Harleigh Ann Catto and her ups of Down syndrome.  Her story starts with doom and gloom, as for the end of the story, it is still full of endless possibilities.  From the time Jason and I realized we were expecting a precious child we...

Brynley’s Story

Brynley Farren Suzanne Woods aka “Queen B”, was born December 22 2016, a little over two months after her aunt/angel passed away. I had a normal pregnancy with no complications, but because of my age I was considered high risk. Her anatomy scan was fine, the...

Ranson’s Story

It has been a full year! Ransom is an active 2.5 year old, always pushing boundaries and exploring new things. He’s a proud big brother to his sister, Darby. We’ve seen great progress in Ransom’s overall development. His therapy team has been enthusiastic about his...

Xander’s Story

Xander was born February 9th, 2013, 2 days after his estimated due date. He weighed 8 pounds 8 ounces. My pregnancy was picture perfect, as was the delivery. The only concern at the time was our strong family history of Long QT Syndrome (an electrical abnormality...

Luke’s Story

Luke was a surprise addition to our family, to say the least. I had made peace with the fact that my husband Ray and I would never have children after ten years of no pregnancies. Then we had our son Harker who is now 14. He was a healthy baby born right on his due...

Teagan’s Story

Rick and Tara Whittaker found out they were expecting in July 2016. The newly married couple was excited about the new adventure and big sister Sarah couldn’t wait to meet the new addition. Flash forward to September 2016 when they received the news that their new...

Erica’s Story

Erica James is a 29 year old business owner, realtor, investor,  athlete, and fierce disability advocate from Greenville, SC! When Erica was 6 months old she was diagnosed with a rare cancer in her eyes called retinoblastoma. After undergoing numerous...

Landon’s Story

Landon Hall Tatum was born on January 31, 2018, in St. Petersburg, FL. He was born with two congenital defects that he was diagnosed with a few weeks after his initial anatomy scan. We learned first that Landon had a Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia (CDH) and then a...

Liam’s Story

Liam was born on January 27th, 2013, arriving 4 weeks early. Liam was born with hydrocephalus which means water on the brain. His specific diagnosis is L1CAM. It affects him physically and mentally. He underwent brain surgery and had a shunt placed at just 3 days...

The Basile’s Story

Meet the Basile Family Our family is quite different than many others on the outside but, like many families, we were built from love! Shawn and I (Sarah) got married in 2005 and we both deeply felt that we didn’t want to just “go through the motions,” in this one...

Meet AnnaKate

Meet AnnaKate Weekes and her mom, Kelly Weekes AnnaKate is a joy to everyone she meets! She came into our lives through the blessing of adoption. At 3 months old she was diagnosed with Rubinstein-Taybi Syndrome (RTS).   RTS is a rare genetic disorder that affects...

Jay’s Story

Meet the Cleveland Family and their son Jay.  When Jay was born, he was diagnosed with Pierre Robin Sequence (“PRS”).  PRS is a rare birth defect characterized by a recessed jaw, backward placement of the tongue and upper airway obstruction.  The...

Jack’s Story

My pregnancy with Jack was fairly uneventful, as was my short labor followed by a few minor complications with delivery. We were quite surprised when the doctor came in and asked us if we were familiar with Trisomy 21.  It only took a few days for testing to...

The Millers’ Story

We are the Millers, a wide-open family of 10! We would have never guessed that we would have had this many loving children; however, just under a year ago, we brought home two of the sweetest additions to our family. Christian and I (Megan) were married almost 14...

Ryan’s Story

Ryan’s life has been remarkable for several reasons and it started with his very first ultrasound that indicated that I was pregnant with THREE babies. Ryan is a triplet and for that reason, my pregnancy was monitored very closely by Maternal Fetal Medicine as a...

Hall’s Update

Here is an update on little Hall Todd, who is Francie (co-founder of KIND) and (big) Hall Todd’s son. This has been the biggest year yet for Little Hall.  He and his twin brother, Barrett, turned 2 in March.  On the medical side, Hall has progressed...

Haley’s Story

My daughter, Haley, was born on Father's Day, and after her birth I told my husband that I was good on Father's Day gifts for 10 years. Ha! Little did I know that Haley was going to be the most amazing gift to our family and the WORLD! All children are gifts from...

Charlotte’s Story

Meet the Rosenfeld Family and their daughter Charlotte. Ryan and I have three daughters;  Charlotte, 15, Reese, 12 and Holland, 7. Our oldest, Charlotte, was born in Tampa, Fl in August of 2006.  She has always been described as an outgoing, active, funny child and...

The Phillip’s Story

Hello! We’re the Phillips Family! I’m Erin, wife to my husband Ryan, and mom to our three daughters, Sullivan “Sully”, Finley, and Francis, plus our two golden retriever mixes. Our story began in 2009 when Ryan and I met at the Carolina Cup in college. Just nine...

Row’s Update

Friday Family Feature  An update on Row Giguere written by his dad, Kent. Row turned 4 and what a year he had! As Caroline and I looked back over the past year, the biggest takeaway was how much Row has truly become a typical little boy who loves life and has...

Delaney’s Story

Meet the Johnson family and their daughter Delaney I was thirty years old when I gave birth to Delaney. During my pregnancy, we had a positive result on the early blood test that could indicate Down syndrome. Because of this, I had to see a specialist every couple...

Crawford’s Story

Crawford Lee was born February 14, 2012. It was a high-risk pregnancy but completely uneventful until the day he was delivered.  My blood pressure skyrocketed while at a check-up and the OB determined she needed to deliver him that same day. He was born two...

The Pretulak’s Story

Meet the Pretulak Family.  My husband Jared and I feel beyond blessed to have two kind, loving, hard working, and athletic children. Our first child, Hane, was born in December 2008. We noticed early on that Hane was very articulate. He could express complex...

Calleigh’s Story

Meet the Wright family and their daughter Calleigh.  In June 2014 we were planning a return Disney trip and first day of school outfit, until one day our four year old, Calleigh, started vomiting and couldn’t stop. We were admitted for dehydration and over...

Matt’s Story

Friday Family Feature  Meet the Andrews Family and their son Matt.  My son Matt is 3.5 years old. He has blue eyes and the very best smile! He follows his dad around everywhere and LOVES his little sister Ruthie. He enjoys being outside and going on...

Bank’s Story

Friday Family Feature  Meet the McGrath Family and their son Banks.  We found out in January of 2019 that we were pregnant with a little boy right before Eliza turned one in February. We were thrilled to have one of each and complete our family of four....

The Hibbs’ Story

Meet the Hibbs Family Disability is something my husband and I were familiar with before we started our own family. My husband’s youngest brother, Nathan, has Down Syndrome.  Nathan is the reason I decided to become an Occupational Therapist.  At the...

Mary’s Story

On October 28, 2006, our family was made complete with the addition of our daughter, Mary.  A true third child, Mary was by far the easiest baby of all three children.  We dragged her from soccer, to dance class, to kindergarten performances.  She...

Chase’s Story

Friday Family Feautre Introducing Chase Sampson, 10 years old and thriving. Chase was always a very smart little boy. Always ahead of peers in speech. He can talk to any adult in the room and his teachers always told us that he is a “friend to all”. Chase is very...

Edie’s Story

Edith Lawrence Terrell was born November 20, 2018.  Pregnancy, delivery and infancy was all wonderful and normal but at 4 and a half months everything changed, and our lives were turned upside down within a week.  Monday morning, April 8, 2019,...

Louden’s Story

Hi, my name is Louden and I was born with cerebral palsy. Having CP over the course of my life has made some things difficult but has never stopped me from living my life and creating who I want to be. My CP has caused me to use a lot of energy completing physical...

Claire and Kendall’s Story

When we decided to start a family, it never occurred to us that we would face any life altering challenges for any of our children. To be honest we were living in the present and not worried about the "tomorrow." Our daughter Claire came into this world so loved....

Beasley’s Story

I had a very normal pregnancy and with it being our first child, we were so excited to become parents and start a new chapter of our life. On a Monday morning I went into work and noticed that I could not get my swelling to go down in my ankles. I reached out to...

Halle’s Story

Our daughter, Halle, was born in February 2010. She surprised us by coming five weeks early. She was small and had to stay in the hospital for extra time due to her low weight and low temperatures, but we took her home eight days later and launched into the perfect...

Addi’s Story

Addison ‘Addi’ Walter is a beam of light to anyone she meets. Addi is full of energy from sun up until her head hits the pillow at night, defying the odds of her diagnosis every single day. In January of 2012, I was writing our first story about Addi. This story,...

Smith’s Story

Smith was diagnosed with Type One Diabetes (“T1D”) at 2.5 years old. T1D is an autoimmune disease in which a person’s pancreas stops producing insulin – a hormone essential to turning food into energy. Without insulin, a person with T1D will become ketotic and...

Claire’s Story

Flashback to 2004 and I was introduced to a rare metabolic disorder, Erythropoietic Protoporphyria (EPP) characterized by an enzyme deficiency in the blood. College kids and newly dating, David told me that he had a rare sun condition that was best described as an...

Logan’s Story

Logan was born in August 2014, at just 24 weeks gestation, weighing 1 pound 5 ounces at birth. He was an identical twin, and unfortunately, during pregnancy, mom developed a condition called Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome. When this occurs with twins, one twin...

Peyton’s Story

April 13, 2021 my phone rang and it was THE call- we had been matched to a birth mom in Arkansas who was 25 weeks pregnant with a baby girl with Down syndrome.  We had been working with the National Down Syndrome Adoption Network for about 6 months. We quickly...

Jack’s Story

Our Jack was born 10 days early in November 2015.  He came into the world pretty quickly for a first-born child.  Nevertheless, he was healthy as far as we could tell.  On the first full day in the hospital, his hearing screen was...

Grant’s Story

Grant Hollis, V (G5 as he is lovingly called) was born June 23, 2018 at 26 weeks. Before birth, his pregnancy had been typical but my body was just ready to go in to labor too early! He was 2lb 1 oz and did well for the first 2 weeks of life. That’s when that NICU...

Levi’s Story

Saturday April 13th, 2018 was a normal day.  Levi was 18 months old at the time.  We played outside as a family and I remember it was the first time Levi tried to play hopscotch on our driveway.  That morning my husband, Pride, and I thought he looked a little bit...

Katie’s Story

Katherine Jane Schomisch (“Katie”) was born September 9, 2017. After experiencing some global developmental delays, our answer was found with an exome sequencing of Katie's genes. Katie is the 220th person world-wide to be diagnosed with Schaaf-Yang Syndrome (SYS)....

Charlsie’s Story

Charlsie Jane was born May 10, 2018 over 3 months early at just 1lb 11oz. I had been admitted to the hospital for 3 weeks due to Preeclampsia and HELLP syndrome. We knew she was going to come early and have a lengthy stay in the NICU. Most preemies typically go...

Ella’s Story

On November 29, 2017, Ella was born, and the next day we learned she had a heart murmur.  We were told that her heart would most likely repair itself and we should not have any concerns as long as things continued on the same path.  We were relieved...

Quinn’s Story

When Quinn was born, we nicknamed him "Mighty Quinn" because he fought for his life every day in the NICU. After we were able to take him home and get to know him better; however, we started calling him our "Sweet Quinn" because he is genuinely the most gentle and...

Neill’s Story

One of our greatest gifts, Lindsay “Neill” Bickerstaff IV (due on Christmas Day), was born on December 26, 2000. I was admitted on Christmas Day for what we expected to be a routine induction, looking forward to meeting our sweet, baby boy. Well, things did not go...

Henry’s Story

Henry was born on January 13, 2019, at a hospital in metro Atlanta, where we lived at the time. Our little guy was five weeks early, so when labor began, we weren’t 100% certain that’s what was happening. He was our first child, and my wife is pretty tough, so I...

Lauren’s Story

Lauren is the youngest of four children, so by the time we had her, we kind of thought we knew what we were doing. We did not, and she rocked our world for the better. She was a very pleasant baby, and we didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary except for some...

Caroline’s Story

Our sweet little Caroline was born early at 34 weeks and was admitted to the NICU immediately after delivery. Like most NICU stays, we had good days and bad days. We were told that our little girl was a typical preemie and would just need time to get the hang of...

Snow’s Story

My daughter Snow was born Dec. 1, 2009, one minute before her twin brother.  The delivery was a welcome conclusion to a difficult pregnancy complicated by fourteen weeks of bedrest.  Things went smoothly with the delivery, and I held both...

Ransom’s Story

It was the week of Thanksgiving 2019, and we went in for our 20 week ultrasound excited to see our baby. During the scan the tech noticed a hole in the heart, so they sent us to MFM the following day for a more in-depth scan. After the scan, they took us to a...

Duncan’s Story

In Duncan’s five years of life, we have seen time and again that our God is a God of miracles. When Duncan was diagnosed with polymicrogyria (literally the lumps in his brain are too small, aka micro), the physicians couldn’t tell us if he would ever walk or talk...

Whit’s Story

Hi, my name is Whit Brand and I love Cookie Monster, buses, and music, as long as I get to control the playlist. Whit is extra special, not just because he has an extra chromosome, but because of the impact he has on others. We found out that Whit was likely to...

JD’s Story

Our second son, Jasper Douglas “JD”, was born August 18, 2020. Named after both of his grandfathers, we wanted JD to have a strong family name. At the age of 1, JD is already living up to his strong name. He is the happiest, most determined little guy. We thank God...

Solomon’s Story

My husband and I always knew that adoption would be a part of our story. We both had a heart for it and were excited to grow our family in this way! Our adoption story was nothing short of a wild ride! We waited two years for our son and had multiple failed...

Ruthi’s Story

5 years and 6 months ago, our twins were born. For the previous 3 years, Hudson and I had loved raising our son, Wilson, who was very full of life and the easiest toddler there ever was. We were so very excited to add siblings to the mix. We knew Wilson would be a...

Evely’s Story

Anophthalmia. I can still hear the words "Your baby doesn't have eyes." clear as day. Like what did you mean she doesn't have eyes?! I mean,  I know people are born blind,  but to not have an actual eye seemed impossible to wrap my brain around. I reacted...

Callahan’s Story

Callahan's story is nothing short of a miracle and proof that God is all ways in control. My pregnancy was pretty normal, but I had some minor issues that our OB was not too concerned with until I went in for an ultrasound at 24 weeks (at our 20week anatomy scan...

Avery’s Story

On April 26, 2020, Avery was born, and 12 hours later, we learned that she was born with Down syndrome. I had a healthy pregnancy. We did the standard genetic blood test early in the pregnancy to screen for Down syndrome along with a few other things, and...

Mac’s Story

I am so honored to share our precious son Mac’s story and support the important organization KIND. Mac is a very typical superhero loving, basketball playing 6 year old. He loves playing with his friends, cousins, and siblings. He has a special way with words and a...

Reynolds’ Story

Being a parent through adoption is both the greatest blessing and the most terrifying experience. It feels like yesterday when we finally got the text at 3am that our son was being born. Joe and I jumped on the first flight out of Greenville that morning and...

Sadie’s Story

Sadie’s journey began on June 2nd, 2009 when Bill and I went, to what we believed would be, a normal 30-week check-up. Due to health complications in my first pregnancy, I was seen regularly by the Maternal Fetal Medicine group to watch for any reoccurring issues....

Hart’s Story

Hart just turned five this summer, and we celebrated by having his first “big boy” birthday party.  We are thrilled to hear him talking more each day and trying new things like joining a t-ball team at the YMCA.  He has a great sense of humor...

Hall’s Story

I had a very uneventful pregnancy until my 33 week appointment. I will never forget that day.  At my 33 week appointment, the sonographer stopped midway through and said, “I have to step out. I’ll be right back.” I remember looking at my husband and crying. I...

Row’s Story

When my son Row was 8 weeks old, my husband and I started a long journey and hard season to find outa that our son has a rare genetic disorder called KIF11. For Row, the KIF11 mutation has affected him in a couple of ways. He was diagnosed with Bilateral Persistent...