BURTON, OH (WOIO) - A northeast Ohio mom is making life better for thousands of people, thanks to a bright idea and the determination to make it come true. It all started with a pair of glasses!
Maria Dellapina didn't set out to come up with the next best invention. She was a struggling, single mother of four. Her young daughter, Erin, was born with Down Syndrome, a genetic disorder.
Like many kids with Down Syndrome, Erin needed glasses at a very young age. Finding a pair that fit proved to be more challenging than Dellapina, an optician, ever expected.
"I would find that they'd always be slipping down on her face, and nothing seemed to sit up properly," Dellapina explained. "Kids with Down Syndrome don't have that much of a bridge. If so, it starts real low on their face. They also have a little closer set eyes."
Dellapina could never find a pair that fit properly and was sure she could design something that worked. She called manufacturers and was told there was no need for glasses like the kind she was describing. So, she began making drawings of design for glasses that she knew would work.
Around the same time she was trying to fit her daughter with glasses she would comfortably wear, Erin became very sick. Dellapina missed a lot of work and was eventually let go.
"The doctor that I was working for, at the time, basically said they didn't need me anymore. So, I was without a job."
A friend fronted Dellapina the money to make the first pair of glasses she had designed.
Finally after six long years, her first pair of glasses made specifically for people with Down Syndrome were created, and her company, Specs4Us, was born.
"Last year, we sold over 6,000. So, we've sold over 50,000 frames so far," said Dellapina.
Dellapina was recently recognized nationally and internationally for creating something that would change the world. She received a gr ant from Toyota for Specs4Us.
Her daughter, along with hundreds of other kids and adults with a low bridge, now have glasses that fit.
Now Dellapina offers advice to others who have an idea for a one of a kind invention:
"Do your research, but when one door closes, another one definitely opens. I found that out myself. Just keep smiling and carrying on," Dellapina added. "Sooner or later, you are going to be that success."
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