Don't we all wish there was a surefire cure that could change something about us we don't like? Let me tell you a story about this mom's "magic cure." In 2007, my 5'3" frame carried more than 240 lbs. Shortly after I celebrated my 40th birthday, my husband Dale and I learned we were expecting a third child surprise! A few months later, another surprise came. Our baby had Down syndrome. I knew nothing about the chromosomal condition, but was relieved to learn that my neither my habits nor health contributed to it. Dale and I knew our love for this miracle would equal the adoration we have for our two older kids, but the unknown is always scary. We learned children with Down syndrome often lack the muscle tone to develop physically without help. Born in early 2008, Jacob was healthy otherwise, but needed consistent exercise to gain basic physical skills. At only a few months, we were working with him every day as he struggled to hold his head up or roll over. He grew tired after just a few minutes of therapy, crying softly from frustration and exhaustion. I had always disdained exercise myself. I felt terrible as I coaxed my tiny baby through the routines. This will never end, I thought. He will always, always have to work hard for the strength to climb a flight of stairs or jump across a puddle in the street. Things I can do easily, even though I have never really taken care of the body God gave me. How will I ever explain to this sweet child why he must be so diligent - not to excel, but just to hope for status quo? Even as I asked the question, I knew the answer. As a parent, sometimes you give advice, but much more often you must lead, and allow your child to follow. On August 23, 2008, I took photos to document the beginning of a journey. It was no surprise to me that I had reached over 255 pounds. I chose an eating program and resolved to exercise regularly, just as Jacob did. Walking 10 minutes slowly on a treadmill (with no incline) left me breathless, but I did it every day. A full life for my son, for all my children, illuminated the end of that long tunnel. There were no rest stops for me, not this time. Jacob and I learned the joy of accomplishing goals, even small ones, together. When we rejoiced at a victory for him, I also celebrated the junk food I passed on that day. By my 42nd birthday on June 1, 2009, I had reached 138lbs. Jacob is 3 now. Through hard work and his wonderful therapists, he can walk and climb. When he accomplishes something new, he claps for himself, and his giggle is contagious. I've maintained my weight, and still climb onto the treadmill every weekday at 5:30 a.m. This is the mom Jacob knows - he will never know the woman I was before.