When Holly and Brad Armstrong were expecting their second child, Aubrey, they didn’t know she would be born with any special needs.
“She was born and the doctor came in and said, ‘We think Aubrey has characteristics of Down syndrome,” said Holly, who is a nurse practitioner. “My first question was, ‘How is her heart?’ That was my first concern. They said, ‘She doesn’t even have a heart murmur. She’s great.’ Then I thought, ‘OK, we can do this.’ I knew if, medically, she was OK, we could handle everything else.”
Early intervention through Children’s of Mississippi physicians has made a world of difference, said Brad. “Aubrey is off the charts for highly functioning as a child with Down syndrome, and that is because of Batson Children’s Hospital and the care she received.”
Physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy have been part of Aubrey’s care, and she continues to see specialists in otolaryngology, endocrinology and ophthalmology through Children’s of Mississippi.
Aubrey, who loves dancing, music, Ole Miss and spending time with her sisters, Ann-Michael, 16, and Ava, 6, is more than OK these days. Said Holly: “She’s amazing.”
New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning first met Aubrey in 2008 during a visit to Batson Children’s Hospital. Though Manning couldn’t attend in person, a video message from him to Aubrey was played at the Champion announcement event.
“You know, I’m pretty good at recognizing when someone has what it takes to be a champion,” he said, “and when we met 10 years ago, I knew you had what it takes. I was not surprised to hear that you are this year’s Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Champion for Children’s of Mississippi. You are going to make a great champion.”