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Collette Divitto, Businesswoman With Down Syndrome, Honored As 'New Englander Of The Year'

BOSTON (CBS) – It's been quite a year for Collette Divitto.

Last November, WBZ-TV shared the story of this Boston baker with Down syndrome working to grow her cookie business.

Since then, millions of people have been introduced to Collettey's Cookies, and she's sold more than 147,000 cookies. On Monday night, she was honored as a "New Englander Of The Year" by the New England Council in recognition of her advocacy for employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

Divitto received a standing ovation from the crowd of about 1,700 at the Seaport Hotel in Boston. In her speech, she thanked her mother for never treating her like she was disabled, "teaching me how to be strong, and to never, never give up."

In a heartwarming tribute, Divitto was serenaded by Irish tenor singer Ronan Tynan.

In about two weeks, Divitto's cookies will begin appearing on store shelves in 19 Shaw's and Star Market locations around the Boston area. She also has a GoFundMe page to raise funds so her company can increase staff to meet the rising demand, with a goal of hiring about 20 people with disabilities

Collette Divitto shows off her award from the New England Council (Photo credit: Ryan Kath/WBZ-TV).

Others receiving "New Englander Of The Year" honors Monday night included Gov. Charlie Baker and the CEOs of State Street and Edesia.

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