Employee Spotlight

March 22, 2024

PACU team celebrates team member Jessica Crowell on World Down Syndrome Day with special T-shirt

“She is such a wonderful human being, and everyone can see that.”

The PACU team surrounds Jessica Crowell, fourth from left in middle row, all wearing T-shirts in her honor.

March 21 is World Down Syndrome Day, and no one knows this more than Jessica Crowell and the Post-Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU) team at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.

Crowell, 40, a support specialist in the PACU, has Down syndrome.

In the past, the team has celebrated the global awareness day by wearing mismatched or funny socks to draw attention about Down syndrome. This year the group wanted to go bigger.

“Jessica is such a great team member,” said Kim Manley, RN, BSN. She is so kind and funny and such a big part of our lives. We wanted to do something on a bigger scale.

“I wanted to surprise her, but everyone was so excited, that she overheard people talking about it,” said Manley, who is known as Crowell’s “work mom.”

The team wore “Be Extra” T-shirts with Crowell’s photo on it.

“She has the extra chromosome that we love,” said Manley. “She is such a wonderful human being, and everyone can see that. She’s just the happiest gal, and we are lucky to have her on our team.”

Crowell is a familiar face in the PACU — as a support specialist she makes beds, cleans the areas once patients are discharged after surgery, and gathers drinks provided for patients once they can take first sips.

“This has been a great day,” said Crowell. “It feels so good [that everyone supports me] and it made me so happy. And I’ve been able to tell people about what today is because of my T-shirt.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately one in every 772 babies in the United States is born with Down syndrome, making it the most common chromosomal condition. About 5,100 babies with Down syndrome are born in the United States each year.