Response #1 to Gratitude #4, Carrie Bergeron

Ms. Bergeron has given permission to post my letter to her and her response to me.




Dear Ms. Bergeron,

About 11 years ago, we met in Worcester, Massachusetts at the MDSC annual conference where you were the keynote speaker at lunch. At the time, my spouse and I were still coming to terms with being parents to a baby with Down syndrome and were working on a film, which sadly wasn’t finished. I wanted to take a few minutes just to say thank you for being a strong advocate and taking the time to speak with us.

At that time, if you asked me if my daughter Alice would dance ballet, I would have said, ‘no way’, but this year, she is in her 6th Nutcracker! Can you believe it?

You may be wondering why I’m writing you. As I approach 50, I’ve found it very important to thank the people who have helped or changed me, and you are one of those people. I’ve started a project at where I’m documenting this. You can participate too if you choose. If you reply, and you don’t need to, just let me know if you want me to post this letter or your reply. I will never post personal information, nor will I post anything without your permission.

Kind Regards,

Stephen Hawley

Ms. Bergeron’s response:

Dear Steve,
Thank you for the awesome letter! It really won my heart. After eleven years since I did my presentation in Worcester, MA, hearing from you is really a confirmation that I am making a difference in this world:) I just turned thirty-nine in September and am still speaking for those of us with Down syndrome and other special needs. I would like to know more about Alice. I do not do ballet but I love to dance, especially Zumba! I will email you my biography and hope we can stay in touch.

Gratitude #4, Carrie Bergeron


Carrie Bergeron is a speaker and self-advocate with Down syndrome who I met 11 years ago.

Gratitude #3, Bill Cartwright


Bill Cartwright was an astounding basketball player (now coach) with a charitable heart.

You Sent Me a Thank You. How Do I (Not) Participate?

Easy. Contact me. I sent you my post and email addresses. You can let me know how and if you want to participate. Do you want me to post/not post my letter? Do you want me to post/not post a reply? I’m happy to comply. I will never post addresses or contact information nor will I hand it out or even store it on a server. Just let me know. I will assume from the outset that you don’t want anything shared beyond your name and occupation.


Gratitude #2, Mr. Anderson


Mr. Anderson was my science teacher in 6th and 8th grade. He was a terrific influence on me.

Gratitude #1, Chuck Peddle

ChuckPeddleHeaderChuck Peddle was one of the key architects of the 6502 processor. I wrote him a thank you letter.

Welcome to Gratitude


As I approach 50, I’ve found myself thinking more about the importance of taking the time to thank people. In the coming year, my goal is the send at least 50 letters out to people who have helped shape who I’ve become. In each letter, I will try to thank each person for one or more specific things that he or she has done for me. For each person, I let them know that they do not have to answer, but if they do they can also choose and if and how they might like to participate. I will post no personal information, nothing private and no addresses without clear written permission, nor will I post the content of my letters unless it is also permitted. I will write about each person in a very general way as part of the chronicle.

If you read this and you enjoy it, then thank you as well.