These eight people with Down syndrome have made history during the last two years, not only for others with the same condition and their families, but to the entire world. And they’ve done so by achieving the typical goals that too many people told them were impossible for a person with Down syndrome.
1. Megan McCormick is the first person with Down syndrome to graduate with honors from a technical college in United States. This past May, Megan earned her degree in education and was at the top of her class at Bluegrass Community Technical College in Kentucky. Her dream is to educate young children, and to become a role model for them. Her mom says that the only secret has been to raise her without regard to limits, and by respecting and celebrating her abilities.
2. Valentina Guerrero became one of the youngest and most popular world-wide fashion models of 2012, when she was still less than a year old. Her cute smile went viral in just a couple of days, and she achieved one of the most wished-for dreams of any model, to be featured at the cover of People Magazine.
3. Ayelén Barreiro was chosen to participate as a dancer on one of the most popular dance shows of South America, hosted by well-known Argentinian host and Latin celebrity Marcelo Tinelli.
4. María José carried the presidential sash in the official appointment of Ecuadorian President, Rafael Correa. For the first time in history, a person with Down syndrome was chosen to deliver this honor, which represented the willingness of a nation to support a more inclusive world.
5. Carter Murai beat so many myths when he became the first young model with Down syndrome to speak in a marketing campaign. At 7 years old, Carter talks about his requirements for the dream baby sitter. “She should know how to make bubbles,” he says.
6. Angela Bachiller became in 2013 the first person with Down syndrome to be elected as a councilwoman. She now works at the Ayuntamiento (municipality) of Valladolid, Spain, and is expected to continue her political career.
7. Eli Reimer became the first person with Down syndrome to reach the Base Camp of Mount Everest, where he arrived in 2012. A full year of preparation alongside his father demonstrated that he had the physical strength and mental focus that we can obtain when we work with discipline and determination.
8. Owen Groesser, a young basketball player with Down syndrome, became a hero after scoring two 3-point baskets with his special move. His ability caught the attention of ESPN Sport Center, a dream for any athlete.
These courageous young men, women and children lead by example, demonstrating to everyone the power of determination and faith. They are typical and common people, inspiring others who may or may not have ever had to learn the great lessons hidden behind challenges.
My favorite lesson as the mom of two children with Down syndrome is this: Patience can be magical when, as parent or kids, when we focus on our abilities and we have faith in them.