May 25, 2011

Biggest assist: Whitfields raise awarenes for Down syndrome

By Adam Kaufman

Editor’s note: This article originally appeared in the May 2011 issue of New England Hockey Journal. 

Trent and Colleen Whitfield with son Colton (15 months) and daughter Alstyn, who will be 4 in August (photo: Courtesy of Trent and Colleen Whitfield)

Trent and Colleen Whitfield with son Colton (15 months) and daughter Alstyn, who will be 4 in August (photo: Courtesy of Trent and Colleen Whitfield)

Ever since Alstyn Whitfield entered the world, her parents, Trent and Colleen, have worked diligently to raise the awareness of Down syndrome.

The Whitfields have held various campaigns in Alstyn’s honor, from selling Christmas ornaments while Trent was playing in Peoria, Ill., to auctioning autographed sports memorabilia, a fundraiser that has continued even with Trent moving to the Bruins’ organization.

The family has raised tens of thousands of dollars for the National Down Syndrome Congress, an organization intent on providing information, advocacy and support concerning all aspects of life for individuals with Down’s.

In addition to their charitable contributions, Trent, Colleen and their kids also have participated annually in buddy walks that take place each October, which is also National Down Syndrome Month. In October, the family took part in two buddy walks, one in Wakefield, Mass., and the other in Rhode Island, which were coordinated through the Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress and the Down Syndrome Society of Rhode Island, respectively.

They also attended a Boston Bruins alumni game in Marlboro, Mass., which was held in support of Down syndrome awareness.

As much as they’ve already done, the Whitfields are hoping to get more and more involved in the coming years.

“The main thing is just to raise awareness,” Colleen said. “I wanted to start doing things as soon as possible and hopefully make (Alstyn’s) world a better place as she gets older.

For more information, visit:

* National Down Syndrome Congress: www.ndsccenter.org

* Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress: www.mdsc.org

* Down Syndrome Society of Rhode Island: www.dssri.org

Adam Kaufman can be reached at feedback@hockeyjournal.com