themighty logo

Soccer Photos Capture Special Bond Between Dad and Son With Down Syndrome

Henry Pavitt started kicking soccer balls when he was still using a walker — a full six months before he started walking independently.

Henry, 6, from New South Wales, Australia, was born with Down syndrome and a congenital heart disease that requires regular surgery on his main aorta. Because of his many medical complications, Henry was tube-fed until age 3 and didn’t start walking on his own until he was 5.

“There have been a lot of challenges with Henry’s health over his almost seven years, but he faces them all with a smile,” Henry’s mother, Lee-Ann Pavitt, told The Mighty.

In June, during an inclusive Football4All event put on by Football NSW, an Australian soccer organization, photographer Gaven Leung snapped the photos below of Henry with his father, Dean Pavitt. The touching, candid shots convey a little boy who’s faced his challenges head-on, and a father who’s loved him unconditionally through it all.

Photos by: Gavin Leung/G-shotphotography

“Football has given us the chance to strengthen our bond more, if possible, while at the same time giving Henry some exercise and helping him coordinate and improve his cognitive thought processes,” Dean Pavitt told The Mighty. “Henry loves the photos of himself and Dad. I tell him he is a soccer star and a soccer model. He smiles and nods ‘yes.’”

Photos by: Gavin Leung/G-shotphotography

“When I look at the photos I’m so proud of Henry and the special bond we have,” Pavitt said. “Henry is my son, my best mate and the love of my life.”

Photos by: Gavin Leung/G-shotphotography
Photos by: Gavin Leung/G-shotphotography
Photos by: Gavin Leung/G-shotphotography
Photos by: Gavin Leung/G-shotphotography
Photos by: Gavin Leung/G-shotphotography

h/t Daily Mail

Want to help celebrate the human spirit? Like us on Facebook.

And sign up for what we hope will be your favorite thing to read at night.