Board Spotlight – Meet Danny

dannyDSL Board Vice-President

“Everything will come. It will come slowly, but it will come fully.” – Steve Swan, September 2015.

I’m from Frankfort, Madisonville, and Louisville, Kentucky. I’m also from Boston, MA. I was born or grew up in some way in each of those places. But I really finished growing up when I met my daughter on the Stansifer Avenue Exit off of I-65 in Southern Indiana in September 2015.

So the technical part: born in the late Carter Administration in Frankfort. My dad got laid off when a new governor came to town, and we moved in 1982 to Madisonville, where all the Slatons have lived since the 1790s. My mom missed Louisville enough that we moved here in 1989. 

While I was in high school, my friend’s dad, a chef in a Spanish restaurant at the time, asked me to wash dishes in his kitchen—I said yes, and after a month, the sous chef left, and I got to start making my way up the food chain in the kitchen. When I left Louisville in the late 1990s, I was the sous chef. I took those skills to Boston, and worked in a few kitchens, from sports bars to fine French dining. I got my college degree up there, but I continued my culinary career. 

When I moved back to Louisville in 2004, I struggled to find work in kitchens – you have to know somebody, and everybody I knew in kitchens was 900 miles away and pronounced car as ‘cah.’ So, I promptly got into politics working for a lobbyist. That ended up being a career snowball, and I’m still doing it all these years later. 

As that career was getting off the ground, I met Elizabeth, my wife, and we fell in love pretty quickly. It’s a longer story, but you’ll have to buy me dinner to get all the details.

We had our son Henry in 2011, and then we got pregnant with his sister, Lila, in 2015. We opted to do as little testing as possible, so when she was born in the front seat of our car on the way to the hospital, we didn’t even know she had Down syndrome. I caught her on her way into the world and held her while I drove us all to the ER. As it became clearer that she was different, the excitement/trauma of the car delivery quickly took a back seat, and we started to wrap our heads around what Down Syndrome was, and how it would change our child’s trajectory. It was a hard few days, but there were several points of light that led us out of the worried wilderness.

First, DSL sent us the care basket while we were still there at the hospital. I never knew how much something like that would mean to me, and to my wife. It was the first instance when we knew we were not alone on this journey. 

Second, my wife’s uncle, Steve Swan, told me something that changed and ultimately calmed my worried mind. He is close to the DeSanctis family, and was involved with DSL in its early days and has been an advocate for people with Down Syndrome, especially in education settings. 

The day after we got home from the hospital, while we were still trying to figure out how to breastfeed a child with Down Syndrome, Steve and his wife Julie came over. I wasn’t quite ready to really talk about it all, but he said something that I know I’ll never forget – something that still makes me cry happy tears when I say it in my head. Lila was in his lap, laying there with her low tone muscles following gravity wherever it led, looking up at Steve. He told me “Everything will come. It will come slowly, but it will come fully.” 

I’ve learned a lot since then, but those words still guide me. It’s part of why I was excited to join the Board. I want to share the calm I found from hearing Steve say those words to me – I wanted to give another young family the confidence he gave me. 

 

Tagged Items:

Similar Articles

18 Stories for 18 Stories: River

18 Stories for 18 Stories On October 22nd, dedicated members of our community will be rappelling down 18 stories of the Hyatt Regency of Louisville in support of DSL as a part of Over The Edge 2022. We’re sharing 18 different stories about what DSL means to our members, their loved ones, and our community […]

Read More

18 Stories for 18 Stories: Ankur Chandan

It’s time for another installment of 18 Stories for 18 Stories On October 22nd, dedicated members of our community will be rappelling down 18 stories of the Hyatt Regency of Louisville in support of DSL as a part of Over The Edge 2022. We’re sharing 18 different stories about what DSL means to our members, […]

Read More

18 Stories for 18 Stories: Emily Bush

18 Stories for 18 Stories On October 22nd, dedicated members of our community will be rappelling down 18 stories of the Hyatt Regency of Louisville in support of DSL as a part of Over The Edge 2022. We’re sharing 18 different stories about what DSL means to our members, their loved ones, and our community […]

Read More

DSL Member, Jill Wright, cast in Sister Act the Musical

Congrats to DSL Member, Jill Wright, on being cast in Redline Performing Arts Company’s upcoming production of Sister Act the Musical! “Sister Act is the feel-good musical comedy smash based on the hit 1992 film that has audiences jumping to their feet! Featuring original music by Tony- and eight-time Oscar winner, Alan Menken (Newsies, Beauty […]

Read More

ATTENTION THRILL SEEKERS

You have ONE HUNDRED days until it’s time to go OVER THE EDGE for Down Syndrome of Louisville. – Anyone who raises $1,000 or more gets to send someone Over The Edge of Louisville Hyatt Regency in Downtown Louisville. – If $1500 is raised, you get to wear a GoPro to document the experience. – […]

Read More

Advocacy Alert: Take Action

TAKE ACTION ACTION ALERT: ASK CONGRESS TO FULLY FUND THE INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES EDUCATION ACT The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), originally passed in 1975, guarantees all students with disabilities the right to a free and appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment. Along with the rights to students and families conferred by IDEA, […]

Read More

Board Spotlight – Meet Shelby

Hello everyone! My name is Shelby Young. I was born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky along with my two sisters Lauren and Bailee who both happen to have Down Syndrome. I am the middle child, so I had a unique experience growing up and had the opportunity to see how services and supportive opportunities for those […]

Read More

Board Spotlight – Meet Sarah

I was born and raised in Louisville with my 2 older brothers (Jason and Josh – yes I am the baby and the only girl). My father was a Home Builder and my Mother was a Registered Nurse and homemaker. I attended St. Bartholomew for elementary and middle school. Graduated with Honors from Assumptions High […]

Read More

Board Spotlight – Meet Wes

Raised to live in a way that must have reason and purpose. DSL: My background in having a cousin with down syndrome, working a couple of Special Olympics State games with my aunt while growing up, and coaching the Louisville Jazz, a basketball team with many members of DSL has lead me to want a […]

Read More

Board Spotlight – Meet Laura

Read More

Board Spotlight – Meet Darla

My first connection with DSL was 20 years ago when my daughter Ellie was born. At that time, DSL was very small, operating in a tiny office. Our first Buddy Walk there was about 150 people present. We watched DSL grow into the renovated old house on Bardstown Road and now to our beautiful campus. […]

Read More

Board Spotlight – Meet Eric

Work: Insuramax, Insurance Agent/Partner From: Louisville High School: Ballard (1999 State Soccer Champions and Ranked #1 in the country) College: University of Kentucky  Hobbies: Golf, Tennis, Family, Soccer Community: Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Wesley Manor, Independent Insurance Agents of Kentucky, and YPAL.  Wife: Lindsay Family:  Harper (11), Molly Frances (8) and Wells (6) Dog: Annie […]

Read More
Translate our Site »