Individuals with Down syndrome Making Headlines

A few months ago, I did a blog post about people with Down syndrome making headlines.  You can read it here.  But since then, so many other similar stories have come out -- and I wanted to share some of them.  These stories prove that Down syndrome absolutely doesn't limit someone!

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1. Xavier University soccer coach celebrates his daughter with Down syndrome

Someone recently told me that the head soccer coach at my alma mater -- Xavier University in Cincinnati -- has a little girl with Down syndrome too!  I had no idea.

The Xavier soccer coach's name is Andy Fleming.  He and his wife Amy have four children, and the second -- a little girl named Devin -- has Down syndrome.  Since Devin was born, Andy and Amy have hosted one soccer game per year called "Devin's Game."  Devin gets to go out on the field at this annual game, kick the ball around and show people the beauty (and cuteness) of Down syndrome.

Devin's Game happened this past Saturday night at Xavier.  You can read all about it here.

Andy did a video that recently aired on FOX19.  I've watched it probably 100 times now and I can't stop crying every time I do.  It resonates with me so much... every single word.

At one point, Andy says, "The thing I remember is the look in the doctor's eye when he opened the door and said, 'Hey, we need to speak to you for a second.  She has signs that she might have Down syndrome.'  And I'll never forget those words.  And when I heard it, I dropped to the ground and I broke down in tears.  And it has not happened to me before nor since, but I recall the walls and the ceiling literally caving in."

These words hit home for me so much.  I remember the walls and ceiling caving in as well.  Just a hopelessness that words can never accurately describe.  And looking back, in my case at least, a hopelessness born of ignorance.

Watch the video here.

2. Dancer with Down syndrome performs on The Greatest Dancer

A teenage boy with Down syndrome recently performed on The Greatest Dancer.  Down syndrome aside, he is an amazing dancer.  The video is set to a song called "Bring Me a Higher Love."  How appropriate... considering people with Down syndrome bring a higher love to the world in every possible way.

You have to see the way he dances.  I can't watch this one without crying either.

Watch the video here.

3. Actress Caterina Scorsone shares the beauty of raising a child with Down syndrome

You might know actress Caterina Scorsone from her role on Grey's Anatomy.  She has a 2-year-old daughter, Paloma, who has Down syndrome.  Caterina says that having a child with Down syndrome "shifted my perspective on motherhood" and that she discovered a new way of thinking about love in general -- because of her daughter.  Read the article here.

Caterina also shared photos of her daughter last October for Down Syndrome Awareness Month in order to "celebrate her beautiful differences."  She also wrote...

"October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month, so here's a little info.  One in 700 babies is born with Down syndrome.  Language is important.  Parents don't have a one-in-700 RISK of having a baby with Down syndrome.  Parents have a one-in-700 CHANCE of having a baby with Down syndrome.  Just like they have a fifty percent chance of having a girl and fifty percent chance of having a boy."  PREACH, GIRL, PREACH!!!

You can see the photos of her daughter here.


4. Popular blogger writes about how to navigate a special needs encounter

We were recently featured on a popular blog called This Little Miggy.  You can read the article here!

The same author was also recently featured about navigating a special needs encounter.  She says there are four things she wishes everyone knew.  You can read all about them here.

5. "The worst day of my life became one of my best"

This article just hits home for me on every level.  It says...

"I wish I could say that the day you were born was one of the happiest days of my life, but sadly, it was quite the opposite.  That has nothing to do with you, and everything to do with me.  You see, your mommy was clueless.  When they told us you had Down syndrome, it was a big shock.  As they placed you back in my arms, I knew I felt the love that every mother feels for her baby.  You were beautiful.  The fierceness of the love I felt for you was overwhelming.  Our bond was instantaneous, but I was also terrified.

What I didn't know about you or your diagnosis was that we had been given a gift.  You were going to teach us about unconditional love, joy in unexpected places and the tenacity to move forward.

I am so embarrassed about what I thought it meant for us on the day you were born.  I pictured a life spent taking care of an invalid.  I pictured our vacations and dinners out, ripped away from us.  I pictured a life of difficulty.  I pictured your sister, who at that point was the center of my world, forever changed and taken away from the spotlight she lived in and adored.

Everything I pictured was wrong.  I am putting all of this out there in case there is some other mom, lying in a hospital bed right now, wondering if her life is ending.  It's not."

Oh, how I wish someone gave me this article when I had Alice...

You can read the whole article here.

6. "I'm the dad with the butterfly tattoo."

In this article, a young dad goes through all of the stages he felt after his son was born with Down syndrome.  In honor of his son, he got a butterfly tattoo.  Find out why by reading the full article here.

7. Rocking an extra chromosome: Beautiful children in pictures

Taking family portraits is a beautiful way to capture memories, but for Nicole Starr, a photographer from New York, her work attempts something important: to normalize Down syndrome through photos.

Read the article and see all of the adorable pictures here.


8. Cincinnati runner with Down syndrome finishes high school career

Aaron Westendorf ran the final race of his high school career on Saturday at his high school, West Clermont.  I've actually seen Aaron at a few DSAGC events, and he is amazing!

You can read all about his running career here.

9. 16 people with Down syndrome who are changing the world

There are many people with Down syndrome who have made outstanding contributions to the world as artists, activists, students and community members. Through their examples, these trailblazers open the doors for other people with Down syndrome to follow.

Read the article here.

10. Meet Dr. Karen Gaffney, a very accomplished woman with Down syndrome

Dr. Karen Gaffney is a 41-year-old woman with Down syndrome.  She has her doctorate, she has swam the English Channel and she is the president of a nonprofit organization.  She is living proof of what people with Down syndrome can do... if they are just given the chance.

Karen recently did a talk about the importance of inclusion for all people with disabilities.  Watch the talk here.


11. Model with Down syndrome walks the runway at New York Fashion Week

A young model with Down syndrome made her dreams come true on Saturday when she walked the runway at New York Fashion Week.  Marian Avila, 21, of Spain, made her Midtown Manhattan debut in designer Talisha White's spring collection.

Read the whole article about this monumental moment here.


12. Actor Jamie Foxx shares what he's learned from his sister with Down syndrome

Did you know Jamie Foxx has a sister with Down syndrome?  I had no clue until someone recently sent me this video.  In it, Jamie says that he "learned how to live" from his sister with the extra chromosome.  "She brings you back down to what life is."

Watch the video here.

13. Benefit Cosmetics appoints first supermodel with Down syndrome

Benefit Cosmetics' new brand ambassador is an Irish girl named Kate Grant.  At age 20, Kate is now the first supermodel with Down syndrome.

Benefit Cosmetics said they chose Kate because "she embodies everything we stand for as a brand.  We knew we had to work with her."

Read more about the partnership here.

14. Life lessons from having a twin brother with Down syndrome

Julia Toronczak is a young girl who has a twin brother, Michael, with Down syndrome.  She wrote a powerful article about the top 3 lessons she's learned from her brother.  She says...

"Not once have I ever seen him discriminate against another person.  He and other persons with Down syndrome demonstrate love and affection without bias.  I continue to be inspired by these individuals with the beneficial values in life they have to offer.  While not every day has been easy with Michael, I'm beyond grateful for his presence in my life."

You can read the rest of the article here and/or follow Julia on Instagram: @beyond_the_waves_blog

15. President Trump affirms right to life of babies with Down syndrome in powerful statement

President Trump declared on Monday that the Trump administration will continue to affirm the equal rights and dignity of children with Down syndrome, "against persistent myths and stigmas."

He said, "All people are endowed by their creator with dignity and the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  Despite some persistent myths and stigmas, even within the medical community, our nation strongly embraces the undeniable truth that a Down syndrome diagnosis is an opportunity to embrace God's gifts.  I stand for life -- in all of its beautiful manifestations -- and I will continue to condemn the prejudice and discrimination that Americans with Down syndrome too often endure."

Read the full article here.

16. John's Crazy Socks: A crazy-successful sock company started by a young man with Down syndrome

How did President George H W Bush and a young entrepreneur with Down syndrome come together?  And how did Mr. Bush come to wear John's socks in tribute to his late wife at Mrs. Bush's funeral?  Find out in the article here.


17. Boy with Down syndrome wins Halloween with "Baby Shark" costume

A little boy with Down syndrome is gaining widespread attention for his adorable Halloween costume and his dance to go along with it.  When one-year-old Exton Black from Alabama dances to "Baby Shark," it's hard not to smile.

Watch the video here and/or follow Exton on Instagram: @extra_exton

18. Parents write heartfelt letter to son with Down syndrome

There were initial fears when I heard the words, "Your baby has Down syndrome."

Dear son...
I won't lie.  I was scared of what the diagnosis might mean for your future and for your brother's future.
But what we know now is that we would have missed out on a lot if you had been born without Down syndrome...

Read the rest of the letter here.

19. New York couple may have had one of the longest marriages of any couple with Down syndrome

Some people who saw Paul and Kris Scharoun-DeForge from a distance felt pity for them.  Others discouraged them from getting married.  But the couple, both of whom were born with Down syndrome, believed they were the luckiest people in the world.

Paul and Kris' families believe they might have had one of the longest marriages of any couple with Down syndrome.  And one of the happiest marriages of anyone... with or without Down syndrome.

Read all about Paul and Kris' amazing love story here.


In conclusion, I hope this blog post has shown you what people with Down syndrome are capable of... everything they set their mind to!

People with Down syndrome are just like the rest of us.  They just need a chance.

The stories above inspire me and fill me with hope as I raise Alice.  She is going to do anything she wants in life... and I'm behind her every step of the way.

"Speak to your children as if they are the wisest, kindest, most beautiful and magical humans on earth... for what they believe is what they will become."

To read more from Ann, you can follow her blog, Wonderland Mommy, by clicking the link below