Positive People: Annie Teeters, Creator of "Shared Blessings"

By: Kristen Guilfoos Email
By: Kristen Guilfoos Email

We all face our share of struggles. Some, though, of course, are more serious than others.

In this Positive People segment, we're featuring a woman who refuses to let those struggles define her. In fact, she's using them to help others.

Annie Teeters lights up when she talks about her children.

"He's quite the little charmer. He's got a great personality. He loves to dance. She is also a social butterfly. She loves people, she loves children."

Zak is eight, and Callie is four. While they bring a lot happiness, they also bring a lot of challenges.

Annie says, "Both kids were born with an unbalanced translocation, which is a chromosome abnormality. In there case it's 3 and 6. They're actually the only two kids in the world with their exact abnormality. He doesn't walk. He doesn't talk. She's had skull surgeries, she's had open heart surgery."

But Annie isn't the type to wallow in self pity.
"I wake up every morning and I make a choice. I can be happy and I can live the life I've been given and I can accept it or I can cry, and crying is not going to get me anywhere."

She's taken the cards she's been dealt and decided to help other families in the same situation, by starting Shared Blessings. It's a free support group, complete with play group and visits from trained therapists.

Annie and her husband recently built the Shared Blessings meeting space as an addition to their home.

She says, "Zak and Callie may be the only two kids in the world with their chromosome abnormality, but they're not the only two kids in the world with a disability. It doesn't matter if it's autism or if it's cancer. You go through a shock phase and a coping phase and you want to talk to other families. It comes down to the fact you want to talk to other families who understand clinics and hospitals and a day to day life that isn't what the textbook tells you."

One of those families... The Sterkens.

Kristy Sterken says, "Lauren is 6 years old. She has cerebral palsy. She can't walk like other kids. She can't talk. She's a joy to so many people, I've never met a girl who has so many friends."

While Lauren enjoys making even more friends during the Shared Blessings playgroup, her mom Kristy says she gets a lot out of it as well.

"Your world isn't as dark, it's more sunny and open. You realize when you reach out to other people, there are so many people who are going through the same things you are and it's really comforting to know that."

For that, she gives Annie complete credit.

Kristy says, "I can't even say how thankful i am. Her outlook on life is amazing. Shes so positive about everything, regardless of what's going on in her life."

As for Annie, she says she is thankful as well. She's so happy to hear that "Shared Blessings" is really living up to it's name.

"Now that I have Zak and Callie, I wouldn't trade them for the world. God gave me them for a reason. They are the two happiest kids in the world and they've taught me more than i could possibly teach anyone in a whole entire life."

That is a true blessing her children may never know they've shared with her.

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