Seattle's Child

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Mercer Island mom uses storytelling talents to make world a more inclusive place

Effie Parks has become a fierce advocate for people with genetic disorders and other disabilities.

Seattle’s Child is proud to partner with the state Department of Children, Youth and Families Strengthening Families Washington to honor outstanding caregivers doing important work on behalf of children.

All month long, we’ll introduce you to Unsung Heroes from around the state: biological parents, grandparents, foster and adoptive parents. Some volunteer at local schools; some have started nonprofits; some mentor others in their communities. Enjoy their stories.

Effie Parks, Mercer Island

Effie Parks is a born storyteller.

She has continuously used her personal experience as the mom of a child with an extremely rare genetic syndrome to build a powerful network of other medical families, advocates and providers across the country.

In 2019, Effie launched her podcast “Once Upon a Gene” to “explore the world of raising children with disabilities and rare genetic disorders.” Through this growing podcast, Effie has connected people, invited them to share their story, and encouraged their efforts to make this world a better, more accessible and inclusive place for all kids.

She has completely opened herself up, and her listeners cry, and laugh, and fume at the injustices of the world, right alongside her during each episode. Furthermore, she has used her podcast as a launching pad for further advocacy. She has teamed up with parent leaders across the country, to support the Rare Disease Film Festival and “The Disorder Channel,” featuring stories and films by and about those living with rare diseases and complex medical conditions.

She has been featured on other popular, disability-focused podcasts, and has been invited as a speaker at conferences and workshops. Effie is a rising star and very deserving of recognition as an “Unsung Hero.”

Nominator: Whitney Stohr


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