Crossing Tahoe: A Swimmer’s Dream
Karen Gaffney is an open water swimmer who has swam nine miles across Lake Tahoe and was part of a relay team to cross the English Channel. Gaffney was born with Down syndrome, but has also graduated from college and is a passionate advocate for others via the Karen Gaffney Foundation.
Gaffney explains, "I've always been good at swimming and it really helps me to stay more alert, especially in high school and college, it helped me stay awake more and more physically fit."
Karen Gaffney Foundation
As a high school student, Gaffney founded the Karen Gaffney Foundation, a non-profit organization that encourages inclusion for those with Down syndrome, and started The Friends First Network in Portland, Oregon schools to promote diversity awareness. "I really want people to understand that we're more alike than we are different. I just want them to know about the tremendous capabilities of people with Down syndrome and I want to show them what is possible for people like me."
The Karen Gaffney Foundation is entirely funded by honorariums Gaffney receives for her speaking engagements, video sales, contributions from others and grants. She receives no payment personally for her work.