Molly M via Crowdrise
April 04, 2011
BENEFITING: LuMind Research Down Syndrome Foundation
Eighteen years ago, my mom, dad, two brothers, and I packed our minivan full and drove ten hours north to meet our extended family in Bend, Oregon. As a five year old, I spent the majority of the drive jabbering on about how excited I was to meet my newest baby cousin, Brad, who was just under eighteen months. Due to our family busyness and having a combined seven kids under the age of seven, my family and my dad’s sister’s family hadn’t managed to get together since Brad’s birth. I could not wait to meet the baby; I’ve been a baby nut since I grew out of my own baby-ness.
At one point during the ride my mom interrupted me and said, “Now Molly, I want to tell you something about your new cousin. He was born with something called Down syndrome so he may be a little different from the other babies you’ve seen. We still love him so much, but I just want you to know he has Down syndrome.” I didn’t know what my mom was talking about and didn’t understand what Down syndrome was, the only message that stuck with me was the word ‘different’.
The next day we arrived in Bend and we were reunited with my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. I finally got to see the baby and boy was I excited. We met around the breakfast table and while everyone was hugging, laughing, and loving the reunion, I quietly asked my aunt, “Can I take Brad out of the highchair to play?” My aunt set Brad on the floor with me and I immediately started playing with him as any five year old would- we played peek-a-boo, I helped Brad stand up and sit down by holding his hands, I hugged and kissed him, I helped him take a few steps, we read books, etc.
I remember thinking back to what my mom had said about Brad being a little different. I had no idea what she was talking about. Brad played and smiled and loved. He held my hand and smiled at me. He was my baby cousin and I loved him. And today, the same sentiment carries true. Brad and I play jokes on each other. We both love to sing and dance. He always beats me at Sorry. I don’t see him as ‘different’, I see him as my cousin, Brad, and I wouldn’t change a thing about him.
Today, I raise money for Brad, so that he may live the most fulfilling life possible. The plus15campaign will make that a reality. Help me help Brad and donate to the plus15 campaign so that every individual with Down syndrome is not viewed as 'different' but simply as a brother, sister, son, daughter, cousin, nephew, grandson, granddaughter, friend or classmate. Let's make them feel even more loved and cherished.