John Cronin, Man With Down Syndrome, Creates Sock Company John's Crazy Socks

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John Lee Cronin, a 21-year-old with Down syndrome, started John’s Crazy Socks, an online sock store with his dad, Mark Cronin.

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This man with down syndrome turned his passion for socks into his own company.

John Lee Cronin, 21, is the cofounder of John’s Crazy Socks.

His dad helps run the technical parts of the website, but says that john is the face of the business.

“[John] came up with the name and participates in discussions on issues such as which awareness socks to create.” -Mark Cronin, father

“There is no ‘make work’ for john. He has real responsibilities and works hard every day.”

John speaks with customers and suppliers, assembles packages and delivers local orders.

Since launching in December 2016, they have sold over 1,000 pairs of socks.

Each package includes a handwritten thank you note from John and candy.

“Our mission it to spread happiness through socks. Giving back is part of our spreading happiness.”

A portion of profits go to the Special Olympics as well as autism and Down syndrome nonprofits.

To learn more, visit johnscrazysocks.com.

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Mélanie Ségard Will Be France's First Weather Woman With Down Syndrome

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Mélanie Ségard has always dreamed of being a weather woman on TV. On Monday, the 21-year-old Frenchwoman, who has Down syndrome, posted a video on Facebook asking people to like her Facebook page with the hopes of attracting the eye of her local news channel.

“I’m different, but I want to show everyone that I can do a lot of things,” Ségard wrote on her page. “I want to prove it by presenting on TV.” Less than a week later, her video has been watched almost three million times and more than 189,000 people have liked her Facebook page.

“Today, people with a disability are invisible,” a spokesperson for the National Union of Charities for Parents with Disabled Children (UNAPEI), said in a statement. UNAPEI has helped Ségard coordinate her campaign. “The 100,000 likes are a sign of strong support – we are taken aback at how quickly the page became a success.”

So far, Ségard’s campaign is working. She’s caught the attention of BFMTV and France 2 – two French news channels – both of whom have invited her on air to present the weather on March 27. This would make Ségard the France’s first weatherperson with Down syndrome, according to The Telegraph.

In January 2016, two Special Olympics athletes became the first reporters with Down syndrome to work at Denver7 News, an ABC affiliate in the U.S. Hanna Atkinson, 21, from Littleton, Colorado, and Connor Long, also 21, from Louisville, Colorado, conducted interviews and hosted segments on the athletes, coaches, volunteers and families of Special Olympics Colorado. They worked in the studio with anchor Eric Kahnert and out in the field with a production team.

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A Request About Raising Awareness, From the Mom of a Child With Down Syndrome

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I’ve been thinking quite a bit recently about the best ways of raising awareness and spreading positive messages about Down syndrome, and how I and other members of the Down syndrome community are working so hard at achieving a better society for our children. I’m trying to share my son River’s story and show the world through the internet that there is nothing to fear. I want to show that life with our child with Down syndrome is amazing, and I feel that I am slowly starting to achieve a small part of that.

I’ve joined groups on Facebook specifically for parents of children with Down syndrome, and I can’t even express how beneficial this has been for me. Living in Tanzania can be a lonely experience, as I am the only mother of a young child with special needs that I know. Now I’m not saying I’m a lonely person, as I’m not. I have great friends and an amazing husband, but it can be isolating when there is nobody to talk to who is experiencing the same things. I’ve “met” great people through these groups, and the support I’ve gotten from the Down syndrome community is priceless.

What I have noticed through these groups, though, is the different ways people deal with those who have no experience with Down syndrome. There have been a lot of discussions about people in society making uneducated comments and being criticized for what’s seen as being ignorant and rude. I’m starting to feel that our actions as parents of children with special needs can actually make or break our quest for an inclusive society.

For example, I’ve heard a story about a parent who saw a woman at the supermarket staring at her child, so she stared back at her until she turned away, seeming embarrassed. I’ve heard another story about a parent responding with anger to someone asking if her child was “slow.” But what did this achieve? Did it help the child or the Down syndrome community? In my opinion, reacting with anger helps nobody at all.

Why assume that the lady was staring at in a negative way? I love watching the world go by. Maybe she was curious or maybe she was learning, and that can be a good thing. Maybe she has a relative with Down syndrome or a child with Down syndrome. Maybe she is watching and thinking about what a fantastic parent the mom is.

Asking if a child is “slow” is obviously a bad choice of words, and yes, I would have felt the need to respond and correct. But if that person probably meant no harm, I believe it is better to respond calmly with the purpose of educating.

In my opinion, don’t assume the worst in people — assume the best. It can make life a whole lot easier and enjoyable. I wrote a piece recently about how much I hate people assuming that our life is hard, and how nobody has the right to assume anything about my family without knowing us. Well, that works both ways. We also don’t have the right to assume what other people are thinking. I promised myself when River was diagnosed that I would always talk openly and honestly about him having Down syndrome. I would welcome any questions and answer with my head held high and a smile on my face. I would always be so very proud of him and want to show him off to the world!

We have the opportunity to help make a positive change within society, to help educate people and make the world a more inclusive place. The last thing we need is to make people feel afraid to approach us or ask questions. We say we want our children to be accepted for who they are, but how is that possible if we don’t give people the opportunity to learn? I want to teach my son to let these things go and not let them affect his life or the person he is. I want him to understand that sometimes people say silly things, but that is nothing for us to feel bad about, as we can easily put them straight without aggression. Just by talking to them and showing them our reality. I don’t want negative reactions to have any power or influence over the happiness of my son.

How I react to strangers is what my children will see, and it’s what they will learn from. If I react with anger and get upset, this might be how my babies will grow up reacting. I believe strongly that I have a duty to educate others about Down syndrome, to help people understand the joy my son brings to our family and that our lives are “normal.” We wouldn’t change a thing, and certainly wouldn’t change our children. Life is good, Down syndrome included.

Of course, we all want to protect our children, and I would fight for my boys with every breath I have. I just think there are other ways to do that than fighting, ways that might achieve so much more. I’m not saying that if somebody said something purposefully spiteful or hurtful to my son I wouldn’t defend him; there is no doubt I would. But I genuinely do believe the majority of people in public mean no harm and just might not know the right things to say. We were all uneducated once. I know now that a child has Down syndrome and isn’t Down syndrome. I know now how important people-first language is. I know now to never assume that there are things people with Down syndrome can’t do. I know these things now because Down syndrome is a part of my life, a very much welcomed part of my life. I have the best little teacher in the world in my son. He has taught me more than I ever thought possible.

As members of the Down syndrome community and parents of wonderful children, let’s use our knowledge and experience. Let’s welcome questions and softly correct people when they choose the wrong words or make ignorant assumptions. Let’s walk away from people knowing we have done everything within our power to open their minds, educate them and spread positivity.

Mom with two sons, looking at sons and smiling

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Kayleigh Williamson Is the First Person With Down Syndrome to Finish the Austin Half Marathon

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Kayleigh Williams is the first person with down syndrome to complete the Austin Half Marathon, a 13.1 mile run.

Full video transcript:

Kayleigh Williamson Is the First Person With Down Syndrome to Finish the Austin Half Marathon.

Williamson, 26, finished the 13.1 Mile race in just over six hours.

In addition to running, she’s participated in local and state Special Olympics events for the past 14 years.

She’s competed in cycling, tennis, track, discus, bowling, basketball and swimming events.

Williamson has completed many 5k races, an 8k and the run for the water 10 miler.

For this race, williamson ran with an emotional support dog and Britney Spears playing on her iPhone.

30,000 steps later, she completed the marathon and got her medal.

Way to go, Kayleigh.

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John Cronin, Man With Down Syndrome, Creates Sock Company John's Crazy Socks

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John Lee Cronin loves socks. The 21-year-old, who has Down syndrome, is known for wearing colorful, fun and whimsical socks, a passion he’s since turned into John’s Crazy Socks – an online sock store.

To make John’s Crazy Socks a reality, John partnered with his father Mark Cronin, to build the site. “John has been saying for years that he wanted to go into business with me,” Cronin said. “His ideas included a food truck and a ‘fun store,’ though it was never clear what the fun store would sell. In November, we fell into a conversation about his socks. By the end of the conversation, we decided to open an online sock store and to call it John’s Crazy Socks.”

While Mark helps out with the more technical aspects of running a website, John, Mark said, is the face of the business. “[John] came up with the name and participates in discussions on issues such as which awareness socks to create, what to put in our packaging and whether to open a brick and mortar store,” he told The Mighty.

As the face of the business, John also attends trade events, speaks with customers and suppliers, assembles packages, delivers local orders and creates videos for the company’s Facebook page. “There is no ‘make work’ for John,” Cronin said. “He has real responsibilities and works hard every day.”

Since launching in December 2016, the father-son duo have sold over 1,000 pairs of socks and expanded their marketplace from 30 different types of socks to more than 500 different designs. Each package is assembled with care and includes a handwritten thank-you note from John and some candy.

In addition to providing colorful, high-quality socks, the Cronins also believe in giving back. “Our mission is to spread happiness through socks,” Mark said. “Giving back is part of our spreading happiness.” As part of their philanthropy, the Cronins donate 5 percent of the store’s profits to the Special Olympics – a cause close to John, who has competed in snowshoe, basketball, track, soccer, floor hockey and bowling Special Olympics events.

John’s Crazy Socks also sells Down syndrome awareness socks and autism awareness socks, with $1 going to the Nassau/Suffolk Branch of the Autism Society of America (NSASA) and $2 being split between the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) and the Association for Children with Down Syndrome (ACDS), respectively.

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When My Daughter Asked About Her Brother's Down Syndrome Diagnosis

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“Mommy, can I ask you a question?” I could tell this was not going to be a simple yes or no question. I was packing her lunch, feeding her breakfast, and giving the baby a bottle. It wasn’t a great time for a heart-to-heart but I saw the thoughtful look in her eye and knew I couldn’t refuse. Kindergarten would have to wait just a few minutes.

“Of course, sweetie. What is it?”

“Is Down syndrome a sickness? Is it good or bad? Will he always have it? If the doctors can fix his heart, why can’t they fix the Down syndrome too?” And she kept going. Her questions seemed endless.

It had been almost a year since our sweet Joey joined the family, sporting an extra chromosome in every cell of his body. However, the diagnosis of Down syndrome didn’t come until he was almost 4 months old. I wish I could say I took it in a stride, but honestly it pulled the rug out from under me. Never — not for one minute — did I doubt my love for my child. But at that time, the future suddenly seemed scary, full of unknowns and struggles.

In those early days, I had so many questions and so few answers. The “hows” and “whys” seemed insurmountable. I finally determined I couldn’t answer all the questions, but I could put one foot in front of the other. So I did.

Each day the sun would come up, I would get out of bed, and I would love my husband and kids. I would make breakfast and get people to school and change diapers and snuggle and play games and just live. And of course, with this new diagnosis in our lives, I would go to cardiologist appointments and therapy appointments and make late-night hospital trips for croup, too. But I just did them one thing at a time, and slowly the questions that had shouted so loud in those early days quieted.

And now here I was, just putting one foot in front of the other, and all of the questions are coming back to me through my 5-year-old daughter. All at once. I had a moment of panic. But then I answered her to the best of my ability.

She was too young to understand that Down syndrome is an extra copy of the 21st chromosome. Instead, I explained that he will always have it, but I assured her it is not a sickness. Having a disability can be hard, but hard things aren’t always bad. They often come with incredible blessings — and Joey’s life has been proof of that.

I told my sweet girl what an amazing little brother she has (which I believe she already knew). I said that I believe God made Joey exactly as he is, extra chromosome and all, and that there are big plans for him. I praised her for being such a loving big sister.

I realized the biggest lesson I had learned over the last year: I didn’t need to have all the answers, I just needed to love my family and live one day at a time. Together we would tackle whatever came our way. Any questions would sort themselves out in time.

She looked at me for a minute, then got that same thoughtful look. “Mommy?”

“Yes, honey?”

“Do we have any kiwi left?”

Sometimes you need to delve into questions, and sometimes you just need to put one foot in front of the other and have some breakfast.

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