Celebrating Diversity Blog Series - Caroline!

Here at SwimZip, we believe in inclusivity and celebrating diversity because everyone's differences are what makes this world beautiful! As a skin cancer survivor I understand the importance of having a community of loving people surround you and how far a little compassion and encouragement can go from a friend, a family member, or even a stranger!
 
 This month we are sharing a mini blog series about some of our most favorite little SwimZip lovers, all with something special and unique about them! Today we'd love for you to meet Caroline and her amazing family! 

Say hello to the Osterhaus Family: Brad, Jenny & 8-year old Caroline. They live in central Florida, love being on the go, and any activity related to water! Caroline has a rare gene mutation called NAA10. She is one of about 40 identified cases in the entire world. NAA10 affects all aspects of her life: gross motor skills, fine motor skills, intellectual abilities, speech, vision, sensory systems, growth, hormones, and the body’s ability to process food and nutrients properly.  Most children with the diagnosis have some type of seizures; Caroline has seizures multiple times per day which have been resistant to medical, surgical and alternative intervention. 

Even with all of these challenges, Caroline continues to progress and participates in as many activities as a typical child would, just in her own way! Caroline takes swim lessons, adaptive dance, and adaptive ice skating. In between all of that she rotates between 8 different medical specialists and squeezes in trips to Disney, local parks, and splash pads. 

I am so glad they found SwimZip to protect Caroline and themselves from the sun's harmful rays so they can enjoy all the outdoor activities they love, all while being protected! Not only does the UPF 50+ protection play an important part in why Jenny and Brad love SwimZip, they also love the zipper featured on all of our rash guards! Caroline takes anywhere from 10-15 minutes to transition from the car to any destination. As you can imagine, changing into and out of a swimsuit can be cumbersome and time consuming. Having the zipper makes it so much easier for them to zip the rash guard on and off without the stress of pulling a wet rash guard up over Caroline's head which makes transitioning to the next activity that much easier for everyone! 

It’s important to have functional & adaptive clothing options that don’t make kids with different abilities stand out. The fact that “fashion” can be a common ground among kids makes this an important feature about SwimZip! Some of Caroline's favorite suits include our Tie Dye Tankini Set, Palm Surf Suit, and Palm Leaf 2 Piece Set!

I asked Jenny for any recommendations she has for other parents of children with special needs. Here's what she had to say! "Get yourself out there and find enjoyment in the day-to-day. There have been many times where it would have been easy for us to shelter Caroline from outside and social settings because it is a lot of effort, but it has been so worth it. Our family cares a lot about inclusive play and making playgrounds more accessible for all. So much so, that we have started our own non-profit. The Playhaus Project will help raise funds to help with this initiative. Make your child part of this typical world, it helps all of us as a community to learn from and support each other!" 
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