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Meet Heather Avis of The Lucky Few in Redlands

Today we’d like to introduce you to Heather Avis.

Heather, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
My degree and my background are in Education. I was a special education teacher for five years then we adopted our first child and I become a full-time stay at home mom. My plan was to adopt a couple more kids and when I was done growing my family and all my kids were in school, I would go back to teaching. But my plans changed drastically.

My eldest daughter came home at four months old. She had a list of health complications including a congenital heart defect that would require open heart surgery, she was on oxygen 24/7 for a serious lung condition and she had Down syndrome. Although I was a special education teacher, I had zero desire to adopt a child with Down syndrome but when I found out about her, I knew I couldn’t say no to adopting her. She was my scariest and my best ‘yes’ and she has changed everything! Early on in parenting her I realized that very few people have a loved one with Down syndrome and those of us who do are very lucky, so I coined the phrase, “The Lucky Few” and it has since become the name of our business.

Since adopting our eldest, my husband and I have adopted two more kids, including another child with Down syndrome. As the years have gone by I have been exposed more and more the injustices happening for my kids simply because they have Down syndrome. As their mom, I could not sit silent, so I began to speak up. I did this through an Instagram account, @TheLuckyFewOffical and thought writing. I got my first book deal in 2015 and the book came out in 2017. Since then, we have grown by leaps and bounds. I now have a podcast called The Lucky Few Podcast where I’m a co-host with two other women who also have kids with Down syndrome. I have a second book coming out June 25th, 2019, I started a YouTube channel, I travel and speak all over the nation, run retreats and events for families who have a loved one with Down syndrome and I continue to maintain and grow our Instagram account. The main purpose of our organization is to shift the Down syndrome narrative and make space for anyone in this world who feels pushed aside.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Not at all! I don’t think starting a business is ever smooth. Then add in the fact that my family is my work and my work is my family and it’s extra rocky. Last year my husband came on full time with me, and we are still figuring it all out. Most days we feel like we have no idea how to run a business but we know our mission is worthy and our voices are important so we keep showing up.

The biggest struggle is figuring out how to monetize something that we have been doing for free. And making sure we get enough respite because the work we do is emotionally taxing.

Please tell us about The Lucky Few.
We are narrative shifters and worth shouters. We specialize in shouting the worth of all kinds of people, especially people who are found on the fringes. I have written two books and I travel and speak to audiences about the importance of making the spaces they find themselves in more inclusive and about how much better life is when we live alongside people who are different than us. We are mostly known in the Down syndrome world. As I said, we started the saying “The Lucky Few” and that phrase is now synonymous with Down syndrome. I also speak to churches and faith groups about how much God loves diversity and inclusion.

What we are most proud of as a company is the impact the phrase “The Lucky Few” has the Down community. We are taking what is so often seen as a deficient and putting language to it to show that it really is an asset. The most powerful thing that happens to us day after day is when a new mom with a Down syndrome diagnosis reaches out to tell us that they would have felt terrified about the new diagnosis expect they’ve been following along and now they have so much joy and hope.

What sets us apart from others is the unique make-up of our family and the way we put ourselves out there. My husband and I are Caucasian, we have two kids with Down syndrome who are also Caucasian and our middle daughter is Guatemalan and African American. Add to that the fact my kids are adopted and we represent diversity in a major way. By putting ourselves out there, we are able to “Normalize” different.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
I had a really great childhood. Some of my best memories are taking trips to my grandma and grandpa’s farmhouse in Iowa. It was like a storybook experience with gardening and baking and sewing. I’ve got some amazing roots!

Pricing:

  • The Lucky Few book 17.99
  • Scoot Over And Make Some Room 17.99
  • Shirts including “Everyone Belongs” and “You do you” $24

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Sami Lane Photography

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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