MEET EDMUNDO VASELLIO
Organized by: San Diego Down Syndrome
EVENT DATE Jul 17, 2014
MEET EDMUNDO VASELLIO.
At 72, Edmundo Vasellio is the oldest man in California with Down Syndrome.
On January 17, 1942, in Banning, California, Edmundo Vasellio born as the sixth of seven children. He was your average child: he enjoyed playing with insects, possessed an affinity for exploring, along with dancing, eating, and playing sports. Edmundo lived life to his whims and desired, and was greatly loved by those who met him.
But Edmundo was different.
When he played with fire ants, he often pushed them over one another, or sat on anthills.
When he explored, he often took off running into the mountains, sometimes for hours, until a police investigation crew brought him home.
When he danced, he spun in circles until he got dizzy, while blaring Michael Jackson.
When he played sports, it was for the special Olympics.
Edmundo has Down syndrome.
Growing up, Edmundo spent most of his youth at home for the reason that at this time, those with Down syndrome were unable to receive the usual public education experience. Edmundo stayed at home with his pet dogs pursuing his hobbies and interests until one day, a woman who was selling Avon beauty products to Edmundo’s mother noticed him. The woman, whose daughter also happened to have been affected by Down syndrome, informed Edmundo’s mother of a special needs workshop.
Edmundo’s time in the workshop aided in the development of his personality. “When he [Edmundo] first started the workshops, he had a very hard time adjusting to other handicapped adults”, Edmundo’s youngest sister, Gloria, explains. “He would criticize them and push them when they tried to get close to him”. Gloria even reported to have to pick him up early several times as a result.
But, like they say, time heals all wounds. The more time Edmundo spent in the workshop, the more he realized that there was more to it than activities and classes. There, he made friends, played sports, and explored the corners of the world; from amusement parks, to ice capades, to restaurants, to picnics. The workshop soon became his happy place.
In fact, through practice and observation, Edmundo even went on to become billagual: stunning all who crossed his path with not only show-stealing dance moves, but by speaking both Spanish and English.
But when good things come to an end, better things replace them. When Edmundo’s days at the workshop ended, he came to live with his sister and her children. Through wrestling, watching Michael Jackson music videos and throwing them around, “Uncle Muno” quickly found a way to the hearts of his dear nieces and nephews.
Getting older, Edmundo’s health began to diminish. He had a pacemaker implanted, and then later, Edmundo’s liver began to cause issues. Fortunately, he responded to medication and continued to benefit from treatment.
At 72, blazing a trail that few with Down syndrome have blazed, Edmundo must now be spoon-fed, bathed and dressed by his family members. Alzheimers and Dementia has had a toll on his ability and is now experiencing his 2nd childhood. His sister cannot imagine putting him on a home and has cared for him for many years, much of it with little help. She is now at the point of needing help to care for his daily needs.
Because Edmundo has been affected with dementia, he may not remember his family or friends. But here’s one thing that is certain: we will never be able to forget him and the legacy he continues to leave behind.
If you would like to help support Edmundo please go to www.sandiegodownsyndrome.org
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Duriba Khan, Copyright 2014