2016 Global Down Syndrome Foundation Ambassador Louis Rotella IV
Ciao everyone! My name is Louis Rotella IV (“Louie” for short). I am a 16-year- old sophomore and I live in Omaha, Nebraska. I am the oldest of three – my sister Mia is 14 and my brother Niko is 9. My parents, Louis III and Jill, are really fortunate to have us.
The day I was born, the doctors told my parents that I have Down syndrome. Despite many unanswered questions, one thing was clear: I was to carry on the family name! I am blessed to have a large, supportive, extended family. Our big Italian get-togethers always include family, food and fun!
My great, great grandfather Alessandro Rotella immigrated to Omaha from Calabria, Italy and started our family business – Rotella’s Italian Bakery – with his wife Maria. In 5th grade, I wrote a report on our family bakery. I learned we used horse-drawn wagons to deliver bread and how the three “Louie’s” before me made our bakery even better. I got an A+ on my report, and I’m sure having fresh bread delivered to the school helped!
I am so proud of the Louie’s that came before me, but I’m also proud of who I’ve become. I am one fun-loving teenager who listens to my parents and always tries to do the right thing…….most of the time. I love swimming and music. I can bust a move! My best friend Shawn and I go to Elkhorn High School and love eating lunch together.
I think my teachers are great. Mr. W works with me on job training. My favorite class is weight lifting with Mr. M. If you can keep a secret, I’ll tell you my favorite meal is soft shell tacos and a side of marshmallows. It’s not Italian, but it is Muy Bueno!
I am careful about what I eat because I have Type 1 Diabetes (T1D). I wear a glucose monitor and an insulin pump 24-7. My parents, siblings, and grandparents are my champions when it comes to my diabetic care. I know that the Global Down Syndrome Foundation’s scientists are working to help cure T1D and their research may also help me improve my math so I can manage my diabetes independently. My family and I hope you will support Global’s amazing life-changing science and medical care.
I am proud to be the Global Down Syndrome Foundation Ambassador. I’ve already accomplished a lot including being the main character in the multiple award-winning children’s book, “The Little King in His Marshmallow Kingdom!” My dad wrote the book because I inspire people and I sure hope to do that on the runway at Global’s Be Beautiful Be yourself Fashion Show!
As my name sake, my late great grandfather, Louis John Rotella Sr. said it best, “Honor yourself by honoring your family, your faith and your country.” We wish you the very best, from the Rotella Family! Arrivederci!