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Why Down Syndrome Makes Me Want to Fight

Dear Down Syndrome,

There is a secret I must share with you. You make me want to fight. You make me want to break down barriers and go through walls.

You and I, we have what I like to call a love/hate relationship. There are days when we go out as a family that I lie in wait because of you. I am on guard for those who give you the extra glance, the long stare, the pity smile. I stand ready to pounce on those who would point, laugh and call you that horrible word. And yet, those fears of what may happen never come. So I box it away and hope it stays there for our next family outing.

Now, let’s talk about the real fight. The one for which I am always happy to put on those gloves. It’s the advocacy, the awareness and the love. It’s that crooked smile my daughter gives me and the way those almond-shaped eyes sparkle when we play peek-a-boo.

erik weiner daughters the mighty

It’s the buddy walks with family and friends. The sharing of milestones and hopes of the future. Yes, Down Syndrome, my secret is out: I have become a fighter. My trunks are yellow and blue.

And know that, like the ones who have come before and those who will come after, we are not fighting against you.

But round after round, it’s give and it’s take. You gave us an unbelievable gift. But it’s what we take from that will ultimately decide the winner on the final score card.

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