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Woman with Down syndrome brings hope to families struggling with the disorder

Blair Shiff

"When a family has a baby with Down syndrome, most often, the first words they hear are: 'I'm sorry,'" Sue Schiavone told FOX Business.

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So she set out to make sure those apologies turned into praises for her daughter, Brittany. And she succeeded.

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Brittany Schiavone, now 30, has founded a nonprofit called Brittany's Baskets of Hope which delivers a gift basket to parents of newborns with Down syndrome across the country.

The baskets contain handknit baby blankets knit by people all over the U.S., a onesie with the phrase "Down Right Perfect," and various educational resources for parents. About 1 in 700 babies born in the U.S. each year have Down syndrome, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It's caused by an extra chromosome and has widely varying effects on growth and intellectual development, sometimes in tandem with identifiable physical traits.

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Sue Schiavone said so many people have helped that the family's "basement is loaded with knitted items for babies."

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So far, Brittany's Baskets of Hope has sent a total of 800 packages to 49 states and Puerto Rico. Recently, Brittany Schiavone was named a finalist in the L'Oreal Paris' "Women of Worth" national competition, which honors women who selflessly help others.

As a finalist, she earned $10,000, an amount that will help defray supply and shipping costs for the baskets.

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