Joshua was born in October, 1998 with Down Syndrome. From an early age Josh became interested in Global TV News and the awareness of Variety stemmed from there. We would make it a yearly event to watch the Variety Show of Hearts Telethon together as a family. Initially my three boys and I would add our ages together to determine our donation amount. Fast forward 21 years and I realized the need to reconfigure the donation equation.

Becoming a monthly donor was a perfect option for us as it was simple and affordable. It was a way for us to help children with special needs all year long. In 2016, Josh’s teeth were fitted with braces. His speech became more difficult with the extra hardware in his mouth and his communicative confidence declined. Josh has always been driven to communicate and be understood. It was at this time that we reached out to Variety for funding for Speech Therapy and were soon provided with a Speech Pathologist on the Sunshine Coast. Josh adapted to his braces and worked hard to make his speech understandable once again.

We have benefited from a close family and a tight community. We try to give back to the people and organizations that have supported us. We give what we can when we can. Our journey has been challenging, frustrating and difficult but also extremely rewarding. Community connection and knowing that there are people who understand is by far the most valuable support that a family with a special needs child can hope for. That is what Variety has been giving to families for over 50 years … hope! – Joanne Stanley, Joshua’s Mom