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Overcoming Odds with Down Syndrome

The North Country Down Syndrome Association, in conjunction with SUNY Plattsburgh's Athletic Department, presents motivational speaker Karen Gaffney to the college campus on Saturday, Oct. 3. Gaffney will be speaking in Hawkins Hall's E. Glenn Giltz Auditorium, beginning at 6 p.m.Gaffney is an exceptional young lady with Down syndrome who travels the world speaking to various audiences.Some of her accomplishments include being a college graduate and swimming across the English Channel

From the moment she was born, Gaffney began an incredible journey that continues today. She is the president of a non-profit organization, the Karen Gaffney Foundation, dedicated to championing the journey to full inclusion in families, schools, the workplace and the community for people with developmental disabilities. She is doing this by creating awareness and calling attention to the tremendous capabilities of people with disabilities.She accomplishes this through presentations and workshops delivered all over the country.

Gaffney graduated from St. Mary's Academy in Portland, Ore., and earned a two-year associate's of science degree from Portland Community College. She successfully swam the English Channel as part of a six-person relay team. And just last year, she accomplished her biggest swimming challenge yet: completing a 9-mile swim across Lake Tahoe in 59-degree water to raise money for the National Down Syndrome Congress and to show the world that people with Down syndrome are more alike, rather than different, from everyone else.

Gaffney travels the country speaking to a wide range of audiences about overcoming limitations and about what can be accomplished with positive expectations. She tackles any challenge she faces with determination and commitment, knowing she has limits, but not allowing them to limit her drive to succeed.

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