It’s hard to believe that some people actually feel those with Down Syndrome are not as valuable as other people.
There was never a doubt in my mind that those with special needs were just as human as the rest of us. Perhaps it was the kindness of my parents, the human dignity teachings I had learned from Faith, or the thoughtful set-up of my school district in regards to those who had special needs that allowed me to share classes and become friends with those who had Down Syndrome that helped me come to know that every person is truly worth the time and effort they need and should be valued.
And, that’s why it breaks my heart that those unborn lives with the potential of Down Syndrome are recommended for abortion.
If you have been in that position as a parent, please consider that you are your child’s advocate—possibly only advocate. You have the chance to raise an incredibly wonderful person, if only you give that child a chance.
I do not know what it is like to raise someone blessed with an extra chromosome, but I do know that just like anybody else there’s unconditional love and an unlimited chance for surprise.
Someone with an extra chromosome is not any less a person—perhaps more a person if anything—than any “normal” one of us, and the more we decide that someone has something wrong with them enough to cause them not to be worthy of life itself, the closer we get to a narrower and narrower view of a “good enough” person. We’ll all end up hiding flaws (more than we already do) so as to not be pitied or stamped out by society for our own abnormalities.
What should be normal is treating people like people. With dignity. With grace. With love.
On this list you’ll find thriving, inspiring people diagnosed with Downs Syndrome, who show that not only are those with special needs just as worthy of life as the rest of humanity but also that they can do things just as successfully (or more successfully) as others.
This list proves that ALL people have a call from God in this life!
21 People Who Prove That A Life With Down Syndrome Is Worth Living
– Karen Gaffney, a professional swimmer, was the first person with down syndrome to earn a Ph.D. She competed in the English Channel relay race, swam across all of Lake Tahoe, swam the San Franciscan Bay over 15 times, and is the focus of the 2007 documentary Crossing the Tahoe: A Swimmer’s Dream.
– Gerard O’Dwyer is a popular Australian comedian and actor.
– Sujeet Desai is a married, American musician who plays piano, violin, drums, trumpet, and more, the subject of two documentaries, received a standing ovation at Carnegie Hall, and is a Special Olympic medalist.
– Oana Rotar is the first woman with Downs Syndrome to be employed in public administration in Romania.
– Neil Joseph Price is an English/British athlete and performer/artist.
– Pablo Pineda, a Spanish actor, author, and speaker, was the first person with Downs Syndrome to earn a university degree in Europe and seeks to help people with disabilities be employed. He was given the Shield of the City by the local mayor of his native Malaga town.
– John Franklin Stephens is an American Global Down Syndrome Foundation ambassador who spoke at the first US congressional hearing for Down syndrome research and spoke for the UN.
– Angela Bachiller is Spain’s first city councilor with Downs Syndrome despite being unable to vote for herself because Downs Syndrome people are labeled “incapacitated” intending to protect them from exploitation but also preventing them from voting.
– Judith Scott is a deaf sculptor and the subject of four documentaries. She was formerly locked in an institution for 35 years until her twin sister accomplished releasing her and is now the creator of internationally famous works.
– Madeline Stuart is the world’s first professional model with Down Syndrome. She’s Australian, an advocate, and completed the Special Olympics triathlon 3 times.
– Isabella Springmülhl Tejada is a Guatemalan fashion designer with her own label Down with Xjabelle and the first designer with Down Syndrome to appear at the London Fashion Show. She’s on the BBC’s 100 Women list which lists the most inspirational/influential women in the world.
– Raphael Burflitt is a baby advocate with Down Syndrome at https://forwantofwonder.net/.
– Li Xiang is a Chinese athlete with gold, silver and bronze medals in the Special Olympics.
– Collette Divitto is an American who founded her own business after being rejected from job positions, though she finished a 3-year cooking course at Clemson University in 2 years. She seeks to reduce unemployment and poverty among disabled people through her own work.
– Lani De Mello is a Georgian gymnast and coach.
– Nakorn Thipabmak is the oldest athlete to represent Thailand and learned to succeed despite anger issues as a teenager.
– Jamie Brewer is an American actress.
– Marte Wexelsen Goksøyr is a Norwegian playwright, speaker, and activist. She’s the first woman to win The Bjørnson Prize from the Norwegian Academy of Literature and Freedom of Expression for her version of Cinderella.
– Chris Nikic is the first person with Downs Syndrome to finish the full Ironman Triathlon, and he’s an American motivational speaker.
– Stephanie Handojo is an Indonesian athlete, gold medalist, and advocate.
– Romana is a Slovakian athlete, gymnast, and advocate for health in the special needs community.
May the list of influential people with Down Syndrome grow and continue to inspire everyone to respect and encourage each other.