‘Hudson the Strong’ continues journey

“Hudson the Strong” is at it again! Hudson Jag Hartman has been selected for the second year to be one of those featured in the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) Buddy Walk Times Square Presentation in New York City. A video of the presentation will be online to watch Sept. 12.

Hudson is the son of former Sallisaw resident Mika “Cotton” Hartman and Air Force Lt. Col. C.J. Hartman. Mika is the daughter of Brenda Cotten and Larry Cotton. The Cottons formerly operated Movieland in Sallisaw. Mika is a 1994 graduate of Sallisaw Central High School.

Last year, Hudson, nicknamed Hudson the Strong, was the Grand Marshal for the Buddy Walk that took place in Central Park.

“Because of COVID, this year's Buddy Walk will be a virtual one,” Mika Hartman said. “We'd love for you to join us this year; watching the video and participating in the Buddy Walk. The beautiful part of 'virtual' means you can walk from anywhere and still raise awareness for NDSS. You can even support our team, 'Team Hudson the Strong,' by logging onto NDSS. org and selecting 2020 Virtual New York City Buddy Walk and selecting our team. You can even join in a walk close to home. We love and appreciate all the support.”

Because of her age, 40, when she became pregnant with Hudson, Mika said in a story last year she had to have genetic testing at 13 weeks of the pregnancy. She said at that time the tests showed signs or problems and doctors wanted to do further tests. The baby showed signs of a major heart defect as well. The tests showed she was having a boy and confirmed Down Syndrome.

Things got even worse when Mika was 30 weeks pregnant and learned her heart was failing. A trip to doctors in Denver showed she had complete heart blockage. She later underwent surgery and was surprised to learn she was still pregnant when she came out of surgery.

After his birth, Hudson spent six weeks in the NICU. He needed oxygen, constant monitoring, tubes to feed him. Mika said they learned he had blast cells at day one of his life, but at five weeks old they were gone. At three and a half months old, Hudson had to have heart surgery to provide his heart with four chambers.

“Hudson has had an amazing year. We've renamed the two's: Terrific Two's! He's walking, climbing, playing with toys, eating more on his own and changing the world,” Mika said. “Well, changing Mississippi laws for now. He earned the nickname 'Senator Hudson' at the Capitol in Jackson. He helped pass into law the 'Human Life Equality Law.” It's been signed by Gov. Reeves and makes it illegal to abort a baby based on sex, race or different ability.

Mika said Hudson is only two, but changing hearts across the state he lives in and many more. She said, soon, they will be introducing “Hudson's Law” before the Capitol and helping families get the most updated information about Down Syndrome from their doctors.

“Through education and open mindedness, we can change the way a diagnosis is given to families...I prefer congratulations!” Our family made a commitment to helping all the families we can with love and kindness and answering all the questions we can,” she said.

In the past year, Mika has become an ambassador for the National Down Syndrome Society.She asks that the public learn about laws that discriminate agains Down Syndrome families.

“If you take the time to learn, my hope is you'll take time to help change. Marriage, college, careers and more all have laws that suppress the dreams of many of my friends with Down Syndrome. Easy and needed changes are long overdue. By supporting NDSS in anyway you can, it makes a difference,” Mika said. “Hudson Jag has already beat transient leukemia and July 27 was the second anniversary to his open heart surgery. Please keep in mind all the sweet children and families that find themselves panicking during this time. The easiest thing you can do to help families like ours is to wear a mask. Hudson and other babies with different abilities usually won't, so if you can, you should.”

Hudson's photo will appear alongside more than 500 other individuals with Down Syndrome at 9:30 a.m. ET on Sept. 12. His photo will appear on two adjacent Clear Channel Jumbotron screens and streamed.

Sequoyah County Times

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Sallisaw OK 74955