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Shawnee dancer selected for National Down Syndrome Society video presentation

Elisabeth Slay
The Shawnee News-Star
Shawnee dancer and 11-year-old Lilly Hennen will be featured in the National Down Syndrome Society's annual Time Square Video presentation September 12.

Shawnee resident, dancer and 11-year-old Lilly Hennen's photo will be one of 500 selected to be featured in the National Down Syndrome Society's annual Times Square Video presentation September 12 in New York City.

Lilly said she is both excited and anxious to have her photo featured and appear in Times Square.

"It makes me feel awesome and nervous at the same time," Lilly said.

According to Lilly's dad, Rex Hennen, he and Lilly's mother Caryl Hennen are looking forward to seeing Lilly's photo amongst many others and they're happy she will be positively representing people with Down Syndrome.

"We are excited and proud that Lilly will be promoting awareness of Down Syndrome in a positive manner," Rex said. "This is a great opportunity to demonstrate that people with disabilities have the same hopes and dreams as everyone."

Rex said Lilly attends Will Rogers Elementary School and along with several other hobbies enjoys dancing in a variety of styles.

"(Lilly) dances at Dreamcatcher’s Dance Company and participates in tap, ballet, jazz and hip-hop," Rex said. "She also performs a jazz solo in several competitions. During her free time she enjoys reading, singing karaoke, swimming and attending church camp each summer."

When she grows up Lilly said she hopes to be able to help people.

"I would like to be a nurse so I can take care of people," Lilly said.

Rex said he and Caryl are proud of Lilly and hope she has a bright and successful future and continues to be herself.

"We are hoping that Lilly will be as independent as possible, that she will be able to live up to her potential and that she is accepted by the whole community for who she is as a person and not based on her diagnosis," Rex said.

The father said he also hopes people will accept Lilly for who she is and embrace her as a fun 11-year-old girl who loves to dance, read, sing karaoke and swim.

"Persons with disabilities are more alike than different compared to persons without disabilities," Rex said. "It is our sincere hope that society as a whole will focus on what Lilly has in common with others rather than her diagnosis."