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'They Can Change The World, Too': Teen Donates $1.5K To Family's Nonprofit

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A Minnesota mom has made it her mission to change the way an unexpected diagnosis is delivered.

The Carroll's story has spread across the country since WCCO first told it more than two years ago.

After Jack was born with Down syndrome, his mom set out to celebrate babies just like him.

Now, WCCO shares how her message touched one teenager with his own special connection to what he considers a misunderstood condition.

"I think it's time that it changes. I think families' stories need to change," Carissa Carroll said.

Rather than leave it up to someone else, they set out to make that change themselves.

A busy Shoreview family with a little boy making a big difference.

"I think Jack has really reminded us that every life has purpose. It's been amazing to see the impact that he's had on others," Carissa said.

When Jack was born three years ago, a nurse offhandedly told Chris Carroll their son had Down syndrome, leaving it up to Chris to tell Carissa when she woke up.

A year later, Carissa decided to fill families with hope herself, delivering toys, books and resources to help other parents navigate the news. It is often unexpected since most moms will forgo the Down syndrome detection test during pregnancy.

Carissa called her mission, Jack's Basket.

The story touched Jordan Witt, a high school senior near St. Cloud.

"I knew that someday I wanted to donate to Jack's Basket," Witt said.

Witt worked for months to save $1,500 from his part-time jobs to donate, in honor of someone close to his heart, his younger brother.

Witt's younger brother, Logan has Down syndrome. Their special connection is one he can't imagine life without.

"Logan is very funny. He's very kind. He loves to make peoples days," Witt said. "These people, Logan, people with Down syndrome have a future. They can change the world, too."

Jack already has.

He's three years old and can walk and talk. Milestones that are celebrated as they take more work for little ones like him.

"We were in shock and we kind of feared what that meant for our lives. I wish I would have known then what I know now," Carissa said.

Carissa wants other families to know sooner. She's shipped or delivered more than 250 baskets around the world, opened an office to run the nonprofit and traveled the state to better train the medical profession to explain to parents the diagnosis in an unbiased way.

"I speak to OB's, pediatricians, labor and delivery nurses on the impact that they can have on a family's ability to accept their new life," Carissa said.

As a life in their own home, finds a permanent place in their hearts.

"He has changed our lives for the better and he has been such a gift to us," she said. "He has really reminded us that every person has a purpose."

Jordan's donation of $1,500 will cover 21 Jack's Baskets for families with new babies who have Down syndrome.

To donate, visit Jack's Basket online.

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