Way to Go: Meghan Schaefer, Commack

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Meghan Schaefer turned her December birthday into an opportunity to help fellow children with developmental disabilities.

Schaefer, a sixth-grader at Commack Middle School who has Down syndrome, raised $1,248 for the Association for Children with Down Syndrome in Plainview by getting donations from family and friends in lieu of gifts for her 12th birthday on Dec. 12.

She bested her initial goal, which was to receive $12 from each donor and collect a total of $1,212 in celebration of the unique date 12-12-12.

"ACDS has been a big part of our lives ever since Meghan started receiving early intervention there at just six weeks old," said her mother, Laurie, who is a development associate at the nonprofit. "Since this is a very special birthday, Meghan wanted to do something a little special and a little different."

Meghan contacted family and friends on Facebook and encouraged them to donate. The funds will help kids with Down syndrome and other developmental disabilities who receive services at the nonprofit, Laurie Schaefer said.

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"The help ACDS provided Meghan, and our family, has been immeasurable," she said.

In her spare time, Meghan enjoys playing sports, including baseball, basketball and bowling.

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