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Ruby's Ride to Success

By: Jasmine Werninger  March 21, 2021

10-year-old Ruby continues to let her light shine upon others and she is no different than other girls her age. Her story has inspired many and encourages girls to achieve their goals no matter the circumstance. Read more about her day to day life and the things she loves to do.

Ruby is extremely vibrant and brightens up any room she walks into. She is strong-willed, determined, and positive in everything she does-- and she does it well! She amazes everyone around her each day with all of the things she achieves and she does it with joy. Ruby is sure to make your heart smile as she continues to show how happy she is living in the world surrounded by people she loves!

We were able to take some time to ask questions and discuss some important things about Ruby with her mother, Liz Plachta.

Tell us a little bit about Ruby and her personality, what activities does she enjoy?

[Liz:] “Ruby is an energetic, smart, funny, capable and DETERMINED 10-year-old who just happens to be rockin' an extra chromosome. We didn't know she was rockin' an extra chromosome until her birth, but the first time I held her it was almost electric and I knew I had to do something to show the world that she was amazing and capable and worthy of ALL the things... just like her big sister Ella Mae. She has to work 20 times harder than others to achieve things that may come easy to others, but she always does it with joy in her heart and a smile on her face. If she's not riding her bike or playing with friends, you can find her listening to music, singing her heart out while bouncing on her bouncy ball.”

Has she picked up any new hobbies or activities since the pandemic and how has your family adapted to these situations?

[Liz:] “Ruby is very social and loves school, so it has been really hard on her with virtual school. She is in the fourth grade and has been fully included in her school and community from the beginning, so she misses that terribly. With that said, she is totally rocking virtual school, can navigate to her classes and manage her day with minimal help, which has been amazing to witness. She is SO SMART and LOVES to learn! During the pandemic she has learned to swing on her own, which was huge...and of course ride her bike!! Which she has been working on that for years! There are so many things that have been hard about the "virus" as she calls it, but there have been so many beautiful things too. Like time for us to slow down and be more present with each other. We have always been a tight little family of four, but this extra time together navigating a new world has been a beautiful time spent that I would never want to take away!”

Does Ruby enjoy riding? Do you all ride on occasion together or is that more her hobby?

[Liz:] “Ruby is OBSESSED with riding now and wants to do it every day!! We have a route where the hubby runs next to her and when I get behind she gets off her bike and runs to me, but we love it because she is getting extra exercise and she just makes my heart so happy! Her big sis Ella Mae will ride also! She is still working on starting on her own, and is almost there, but when she does she takes off and is making her turns and can stop on her own and everything! We are SO PROUD of her!”

How happy were you to see that she rode her bike without training wheels? What made that moment so special?

[Liz:] “I was SO sad to miss this moment (see video below), but it has been the hubby that has mostly been working with her so I was excited for them both! I cried when he sent me the video. I was visiting one of our Rockin' Recipients and was able to show him and we even Facetimed so we could all tell her how proud we were of her! She had been talking about taking off the training wheels for a few weeks and we weren't 100% certain she was ready, but turns out she was! For people with Ds, learning to ride a bike is a pretty big deal because of their lower muscle tone and just overall balance...this girl works 20 times harder than anyone else to achieve things that may come easier to others...but she does it with joy. She amazes us every single day with the things she CAN do!! We hope her story continues to bring hope and makes people's hearts smile!!”

What is the story behind Ruby’s Rainbow and how has it developed over time?

[Liz:] “So Ruby is 10 and the second she was born I knew she was going to change the world! I wanted her to have all the opportunities like her big sis...including college if she wanted to go. So about 6 months after we got her home from the NICU I decided I wanted to help people like her be the best they could be...and Ruby's Rainbow was born! I wasn't even sure if people with Down Syndrome were going to college, but I decided I wanted to help them go for their dreams of higher education and independence and had a goal of ONE 2k scholarship that first year. I was so amazed when I was actually able to grant 11 scholarships that year! Since then, it just keeps growing and growing! In the last 10 years since this lil' lady was born, we have granted almost 400 scholarships totaling in $1.2 MILLION to amazing individuals with Down Syndrome going for their college dreams across the nation! The love and support from the community and around the world even has been unbelievable and we could not do what we do without it. A huge part of our mission is to raise expectations while bringing joy and hope to others...which Ruby has that part covered.”

Interested in finding out more about Ruby's Rainbow and how to get involved? Find out more at www.rubysrainbow.org

Here's the video that made us fall in love with Ruby!