Delegate Leaders from Congress and West Virginia Show Support at Annual Pro-Life Convention | VM News
FAIRMONT, Va. (WV News) – About 80 state-elected leaders, pastors and life advocates gathered on Saturday for the annual state pro-life convention of West Virginians for Life, Inc ..
Held at the Trinity Assembly of God in Fairmont, the convention highlighted successful families with disabled children, including Kurt Kondrich of Pittsburgh.
A former Pittsburgh police officer, Kondrich now advocates for Down syndrome awareness around the world with his 18-year-old daughter Chloe (who lives with Down syndrome and dreams of studying at Grove City College in Grove City, in Pennsylvania).
“We are very lucky,” said Kurt Kondrich. “Chloe is just a gift. She’s only brought love and joy to our family. She’s done more in 18 years than most people in their lifetime.”
Amanda Cunningham of Bridgeport started The Glory Days Co., a non-profit organization providing materials for parents of children with special needs. Cunningham’s 4-year-old daughter Aurora (affectionately known as “Rory”) lives with Down syndrome.
Cunningham told the organization she reluctantly relied on “Google and Grief,” before realizing that she had organized her life before Aurora with a planner and other tools.
“On the windows of my living room, I created a therapy tracking chart,” she said. “I needed a way to hold myself accountable for the lessons (the Birth Three program in West Virginia) was teaching me how to help my child.
“After six months of personal use, I had this voice that told me ‘if you need it, others do.’ All the pieces fell into place, and we’ve been in operation for four years and have sold over 2,000 planners worldwide. ”
The nonprofit also has a foundation to ensure that the material can be given to families at the time of birth or hospital diagnosis.
West Virginians for Life President Dr Wanda Franz is a former professor / child development psychologist at the University of West Virginia, but said her involvement in the state had “taught her so much. things I didn’t think I needed to know.
“And I got to know all of these wonderful people from all over West Virginia that I would never have met,” she said. “All of these pro-life people are wonderful, loving.”
Former national president of the right to life for 20 years, Franz said heads of state are now more supportive of pro-life legislation – possibly including the law to protect unborn children with Down’s syndrome. during this next legislative session.
U.S. Representative David McKinley is the grandfather of 16-year-old, deaf, blind and autistic Maxwell. He said the crowd on Saturday had built a support base for families with special needs.
“I’ve learned how special life is. He’s our guide,” McKinley said. “It opened my eyes. I think of the number of families across America who have children with special needs that we must continue to support.
“I believe life begins at conception – this is a core belief.”
A teen day camp, filled with games and educational lessons, was also run by delegates Riley Keaton, R-Roane and Caleb Hanna, R-Nicholas / Webster.
“We need to stand up and be a voice for those who don’t have the opportunity to express their own opinions,” Hanna said. “I think it’s so important that we have events like these.”
Keaton provides management during the summer camps, such as during the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston camp which attracted about 200 youth last summer, and provided case studies for the youth.
While online advocacy efforts have been stepped up due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Franz said the pandemic has not affected the passion or participation of advocates.