Friend Helps Woman Overcome Stage Fright in Heartwarming Video

PHOTO: Suzy was able to continue her speech after her friend, Chandler Hawks, gave her a hug. PlayWGME
WATCH Friend Helps Woman Overcome Stage Fright in Heartwarming Video

A Maine woman's nerves almost got the best of her last week, until a familiar face in the audience offered her a little encouragement.

Suzy Cloutier, 28, of Portland, Maine, was delivering a speech on Feb. 18 for STRIVE, a program for people with developmental disabilities, when she was hit hard with a dose of stage fright.

But seconds later, an old friend, Chandler Hawks, 25, gave her the boost she needed to continue.

"I got emotional because she was my kid, but I was surprised that everyone else got emotional by it," Suzy's mom Peggy Cloutier told ABC News. "[For me], that's what life is like for a handicapped child. There are always people that are going to step up and help you."

Peggy said her daughter Suzy, who was born with Down syndrome, has attended programs at STRIVE since she was a teenager.

She met new friends at STRIVE, joined activities and learned skills like cooking and handling money.

"It's just a fabulous, wonderful program," Peggy said. "For a lot of the handicapped kids in the community, they become isolated. They're not necessarily invited to play with other kids in the neighborhood."

PHOTO: Suzy was able to continue her speech after her friend, Chandler Hawks, gave her a hug. WGME
Suzy was able to continue her speech after her friend, Chandler Hawks, gave her a hug.

Since the program was expanding, staff members asked Suzy if she'd like to give the speech for the ribbon-cutting ceremony -- something that Peggy said she was very excited to do.

With cameras rolling and about 200 people in attendance, Suzy developed a case of the jitters and began to cry.

"From the time she started talking, it took her that long to process that she was speaking in front of that many people," Peggy said. That reaction time is very typical for her."

Soon after, Chandler approached the podium and gave Suzy a hug. "OK, I can do it now," Suzy said.

"She's very brave," Peggy said. "I'm very proud of her."

Peggy said Suzy has since watched the video of her speech "about 100 times" and is able to laugh at her stage fright.