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Gillian Kunkel has a big heart and a broad smile. She is a hard worker, a good friend and a loving big sister. Like any child, she has her bad days, too. But her life, like her sister's, is a gift. "I feel like I won the lottery because Gillian's so great and such a wonderful addition to our family," her mom, Nicole Kunkel, says.
But Kunkel didn't feel like a lottery winner when she was told her daughter would be born with Down syndrome. That's because the diagnosis was delivered with more "I'm sorry" than "Congratulations." That's not uncommon, Kunkel tells us. And she and other parents of children who have Down syndrome are trying to change that. "We want to change the diagnosis experience," Kunkel says. For many parents, the memory is a painful one, but it doesn't have to be. The news may be unexpected, but it's not bad. Far from it, Kunkel says. "Our daughter is exactly what our family needed."
This story originally appeared on the In the Loop blog.
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