Karen Gaffney left the Rose City and the World in awe with a captivating talk that explored the history, current state and progress of Down Syndrome. Her idea? Inclusion. Further, we must refine our vocabulary and eradicate “the R word” as the word “retard” has no place in our daily language.
Karen is the President of a non-profit organization dedicated to championing the journey to full inclusion in families, schools, the workplace, and the community for people with developmental disabilities. She graduated from St. Mary’s Academy in Portland, Oregon, and earned a two-year Associate of Science degree from Portland Community College. Karen has also been awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from the University of Portland on May 5th, 2013, for her work in raising awareness regarding the abilities of people who have Down syndrome. She is a fearless open-water swimmer having successfully swam the English Channel, escaped Alcatraz (16 times) and conquered Lake Tahoe in 59-degree water. Karen swims to raise funds and awareness of what people with Down syndrome can do. http://www.karengaffneyfoundation.com/