Singer advocates for Mary Ellen with concert - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Singer advocates for Mary Ellen with concert

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) -

Saturday night you can watch an online concert by Sarah Conan, a young artist who heard about the International Down Syndrome Coalition and was so moved at what she found out on its Facebook page.

The reason Conan is doing the concert is because of Diane Grover, a mother of five kids. Her youngest, Mary Ellen, was born with Down Syndrome.

"We found out at birth that Mary Ellen had Down Syndrome," Grover said. "When she was born the reaction by the medical staff was silence and almost like just a hover of grief in the room, almost like someone had died."

In fact that is exactly what Grover and her husband thought had happened. Their little baby girl had died during birth, but then the medical staff gave her the news.

"Then to find out it was Down Syndrome, it was like okay, we're going to be okay. We'll be okay," she said. "That's the moment you know right there I knew I was going to have to advocate for Mary Ellen the rest of her life, not the rest of her life but until she could because right there you pick up that moment that this is my child and I love her. I want the world to see her for who she is, not for her diagnosis."

Grover started with a blog with five other mothers. It grew to 15. Then some dads came on, some grandparents. She started a Facebook page and it grew into thousands, with friends all over the world.

Grover then came up with an idea for a video.

"Create a video last year," she said. "I had families send me a poster where they told us what would they tell themselves if they could go back to what would you tell yourself when you were pregnant," she said. "Now that you know how it is, and that (idea) took off like wild fire."

One of the thousands who saw that video was Conan. She had a song and when Grover heard the song, she wanted to use it in her next video out that will be released March 9. But in the meantime Conan wanted to do the concert.

So, from silence in a delivery room to a blog to Facebook, it has grown.

"I think we have 36,000  headed towards 37,000 (Facebook friends)," Grover said. "(It amazes me) every day. Shocks me. I'm thrilled because they are all people that, not just on our Facebook, they interact with us and we love that they tell us how much they love our kids and how much they are learning. It's beautiful.

International Down Syndrome Coalition Website:
International Down Syndrome Coalition Facebook Page:

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