Defining Down Syndrome

Black and white photo of a young girl with Down syndrome

“Down Syndrome – It means different things to different people.  For me,  the meaning has evolved over the years as we’ve journeyed through life with Maylee,  my 12-year-old daughter.

When Maylee was born,  Down syndrome was a “Curve Ball”.  We didn’t learn that Maylee had Down syndrome until the day she was born.  I remember that day vividly, trying to figure out what to do and what our new life would become.

As Maylee got older, Down syndrome meant “Hope”.  We learned of countless testimonies of amazing individuals with Down syndrome doing amazing things.  Those testimonies coupled with support organizations like the NDSS, Buddy Walk, GiGi’s Playhouse, and many others gave us inspiration and hope for all the things Maylee would accomplish in the future.

As I consider what Down syndrome means to me now,  the most fitting description is  “Surprise Gift”.  Maylee has impacted so many lives and ultimately brought about the best in others.  She loves to make us laugh.  She is caring and tries so hard to lift us up when we’re sad.  She has the best apologies and hugs.  She is a good friend and has made awesome friendships.  She continues to amaze us with what she learns, what she can do, and what mischief she can get into.

As I reflect on the past and I look to the future,  I can’t wait to see what Down syndrome will mean to me in the years to come.”

-The Kush Family, Canton, Ohio
October 2021

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