Hopewell boy with rare form of Down syndrome inspires nonprofit

Posted at 1:57 PM, Sep 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-29 18:27:52-04

HOPEWELL, Va. – Elijah Sample, a sprite little tyke from Hopewell, was diagnosed with a rare form of Down Syndrome shortly after he was born.

Elijah is a little boy on the move; on most days his mother, Tara, has trouble keeping up.

“He definitely has his own personality,” says Tara Sample. “He is very funny. I would say he is a little social butterfly.”

The six-year-old is unlike almost any other boy. Elijah was diagnosed with a rare form of Downs Syndrome shortly after he was born.

Elijah Sample and his mother Tara

Elijah Sample and his mother Tara

“The two chromosome disorders are Mosaic Trisomy 21 and Mosaic Trisomy 14,” says Tara. “He is the only known case of that worldwide.”

But the disability has not stopped this bundle of energy.

“When you see what your child is capable of all of that other stuff goes out the window,” says Tara.

The mother of five says when Elijah came into this world she faced tall challenges but didn’t know where to turn or what to do -- so she decided to act.

“When Elijah was born I didn’t find a lot of information from the organizations,” says Tara.

Four years ago, Tara founded “This Ability.”

The nonprofit aids families with boys or girls living with special needs.

They provide a place to go for playgroups, toys at Christmas, avenues to resources and simple advice.

Families gather at a "This Ability" event

Families gather at a "This Ability" event

“Basically it is going to be okay,” says Tara. “You love that child for who that child is. You believe in that child and you give that child 100% just as you would give any other child.”

Tara says that while her organization is a lot of work, the rewards are unparalleled.

“It is a really wonderful feeling. It really is. To know that we have done something for these families,” says Tara.

The 39-year-old never wants to see moms, dads and children go without. Tara hopes other parents look at their special little ones like she does -- as a gift.

Elijah Sample

Elijah Sample

“I wouldn’t change him. If I could go back and take the Down Syndrome and Trisomy 14 away, I wouldn’t, because he is who he is. He is uniquely made.”

Tara is holding a free family festival on October 29th at Crystal Lake Park in Hopewell to benefit her nonprofit. For more information, click here.

If you know of a “Hero Among Us” reach out to CBS 6 reporter Greg McQuade.