A true champion

Published 6:00 am Monday, March 9, 2009

At age 28, Shelly Miller was an experienced labor and delivery nurse.

She and her husband Bobby were already parents of 3–year–old Jonathan so they were excited to be expecting a baby girl this go-round. Mallory Kaye Miller was born at Brookwood Hospital on Tuesday, Nov. 26, 1991 attended by doctors and nurses Shelly worked with daily.

A couple of the nurses thought Mallory looked “just a bit different” and expressed their observations to the doctor. He requested a blood screening as peace of mind after telling Shelly and Bobby he really didn’t think anything was wrong. The couple took their daughter home on Thanksgiving Day and found out the next Monday their baby had Downs Syndrome.

Shelly was devastated and overwhelmed. She was not prepared. She could not imagine how she would cope or if she could she return to the job she loved. After coming out of her daze, she began to do research and thru a former patient was led to the Bell Center at Trinity United Methodist. Finally, she had found a support group.

Mallory eventually came to Shelby County ARC, to the Linda Nolen Center at age 3, and by 5 was mainstreamed into the old Thompson Elementary. Now, at 17 she is in the ninth grade at Thompson High School. Teachers Christina Huggins and Betty Nelson are her best buddies. Mallory will be vocationally coached to hopefully prepare her for a job after school ends. She currently has the job of permanent acolyte at her church.

Mallory likes anything Disney –– figurines, posters, stuffed characters and DVD’s. Her 2007 Disney trip is to be repeated again this summer.

In 2002, her parents were asked if they were interested in Mallory competing in the Special Olympics program. From the beginning, Mallory has been a champ. Each year she is in regional and state competition and in 2006 she was selected to go to Ames, Iowa for Nationals. She has won one gold medal, three silver medals and one bronze medal. Her accumulation of medals is staggering.

In April, Mallory will again compete in regionals at Auburn. Go Mallory –– you’re a champ!!