Team William Runs for Down Syndrome

<p>Read how the Team William helped children with Down syndrome learn to read</p>

How Team William helped children with Down syndrome read.

Andrea McDermott Sanders, Vanderbilt special education alumna (M.Ed. 2006) and VKC Leadership Council member, completed her eighth Country Music Marathon in 2012 to raise funds for the Team William Scholarship Fund for students in the Vanderbilt Kennedy Reading Clinic. Andrea's efforts have raised more than $180,000 since 2004 to provide financial support for students with Down syndrome attending the Reading Clinic. A former reading tutor, Andrea established the scholarship in honor of William Spickard, one of her students. William's family has partnered with Andrea in raising support. In 2009, Anna Spickard, William's older sister, organized the Team William 5k, an additional fundraising event. In 2012, they funded the Team William Discovery Grant to advance research on Down syndrome.

In 2004, Andrea Blake McDermott, MEd’06, was enrolled in the Special Education program at Vanderbilt Peabody College of education and human development. During her time at Vanderbilt, Andrea had the opportunity to tutor William Spickard, a 7-year-old with Down syndrome who was learning to read.

In addition to her commitment to education, Andrea is also a devoted marathon runner. During her time as a graduate student, she had the bold idea to combine her passions for running and reading to endow a Vanderbilt Kennedy Center Reading Clinic scholarship fund so that other children with Down syndrome could learn to read.

Over the past eight years, family, friends and community members have helped achieve Andrea’s goal, through gifts both small and large. William’s sister Anna Spickard and her high school friends began a 5K run. Together they established an endowment for reading scholarships, offering children with Down syndrome the opportunity to attend the Reading Clinic at the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center.

In 2012, the power of this collective support led to the establishment of the Team William Discovery Grant, funding novel research to promote optimal development of children with Down syndrome.

To learn more about Team William or to make a gift to support the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center Reading Clinic, please visit or

Last Updated: 11/1/2012 3:29:50 PM

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