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Man with Special Needs Explores New York City and Beyond through HeartShare Respite Programs

June 25, 2015

Impact Stories


“I’ve never perceived Laquan as having a disability,” observed his mother, Stephanie. Laquan, who is 34 years old, was born with Down’s Syndrome. “He’s had a truly vibrant life due to HeartShare’s services, which allow him to live the most fruitful and independent life possible.” Laquan is an avid cyclist throughout New York City, as well as a former Special Olympics athlete. Over the past 15 years, Laquan has enjoyed a variety of rich experiences through participation in HeartShare’s Respite/Recreation Programs. Laquan has traversed New Jersey water parks, meandered through the streets of Philadelphia and explored Amish country through the Holiday Overnight Program. For HeartShare day trips, Laquan has attended sporting events and Broadway plays, as well as gone bowling and ice skating, just to name a few activities. HeartShare’s Respite/Recreation Programs offer overwhelmed families the ability to have a much needed respite during weeknights, weekends and holidays from the constant care they must provide for their loved one with a disability. “Laurie Yankowitz, Suress Spencer and Linda Rasport are among the people who stand out to me throughout my HeartShare experience. They were there for me when I needed information and support,” noted Stephanie. Laquan has not only been instilled with a new sense of confidence, excitement and independence, but his family can have some quality time for themselves knowing that he is having fun in the safe and secure hands of HeartShare staff.