Rion Holcome, an 18-year-old with Down Syndrome, is about to become a college student, and he couldn’t be happier about it. Watch this video, as Rion expresses his shock and joy when he finds out he’s been accepted to the ClemsonLIFE program at Clemson University. His big grin and excitement are infectious, and sure to make any winter blues you’re feeling melt away. Congrats, Rion! [USA Today]
Karrie Brown, the Wet Seal model with Down syndrome, was featured as our Kickass Woman of the Day a couple weeks ago. Now it’s time to make room for another kickass woman: Karrie’s mom. Sue Brown of Illinois penned an article on the experience for xoJane, in which she details not only how her 17-year-old daughter’s modeling opportunity came about, but most importantly, and most poignantly, how she raised Karrie to know that one must never place limits on themselves. Upon receiving the prenatal diagnosis that her baby had Down syndrome, Sue’s own mother told her, “Your baby might have a disability, but she will only be disabled if you make her that way.” What follows is one of the most inspirational stories we’ve ever seen, made all the better by Sue’s, and Karrie’s, phenomenal attitude. [via xoJane]
Pets are nothing if not persistent when there’s affection to be had. Nowhere is that better illustrated than this squee-dorable video of a little boy with Down Syndrome being won over with love by a pushy Labrador retriever. The boy, Hernan, lives in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and is shy about physical contact. At first Hernan isn’t so sure about this big galoot shoving his wet nose in his face. But the Lab is persistent — in that gentle, perfect way all Labs are — and finally Hernan gives him a big hug. Labs are the greatest, aren’t they? I dare you to watch this video — which is over a year old, but making the rounds on the “Today” show and Huffington Post just now — and not get the warm and fuzzies. [Today]
Watch your back, ladies and gents of “America’s Next Top Model.” Teen clothing retailer Wet Seal recently shot a photoshoot with 17-year-old model Karrie Brown that is getting a lot of eyeballs. How come? Karrie isn’t just any high school junior who loves modeling — she also has Down Syndrome.
The “Today” show blog spoke with Karrie’s mother Sue Brown, who explained she photographed her daughter modeling a favorite outfit from Wet Seal and posted it on Facebook. Folks started tweeting at Wet Seal, asking if Karrie could model their clothes professionally. To everyone’s surprise, the company actually responded! Wet Seal reached out to Sue and promised if her Facebook page got 10,000 likes, they would have a special surprise for Karrie. Keep reading »
Connie Feda wanted to create an educational, engaging, and relatable doll for her 13-year-old daughter Hannah, who has Down syndrome. With the goal of capturing “the beauty, vivaciousness and spunk of kids with Down Syndrome,” Connie created Ellie, a doll with Hannah’s almond-shaped eyes and button nose. She soon realized that other kids could benefit from a doll that looked more like them, so she created Dolls For Downs, a new line of dolls for children with Down syndrome. Keep reading »
Hold onto your ovaries, ladies! This is Ryan. He’s six years old, a child model for Nordstrom and Target, and living happily with Down syndrome. His mom writes that modeling is “an extreme confidence booster.” Also, “He received so much warmth and caring from the Nordstrom crew that he thought they were there just for him!” (Thinking everybody is there for him? Yup, sounds like a model all right.) We hope Ryan sticks with modeling and keeps sharing his cuteness with the world. [The Daily What via NoahsDad.com]
Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and her daughter, Bristol Palin, were in the headlines again this week, railing against Sunday’s episode of “Family Guy” featuring a character with special needs. In the episode “Extra Large Medium,” the elder son, Chris, goes out on a date with Ellen, a mentally handicapped woman who tells him, “My dad’s an accountant and my mom’s the former governor of Alaska” — an obvious reference to Palin’s son, Trig, who has Down syndrome. The Palins, of course, interpreted it as such; both Bristol and Sarah took to the ex-governor’s Facebook page, where Bristol wrote, “If the writers of a particularly pathetic cartoon show thought they were being clever in mocking my brother and my family yesterday, they failed. All they proved is that they’re heartless jerks.” Boom boom pow!
And yet … Andrea Friedman, the 39-year-old actress with Down syndrome who read the voiceover for Ellen on the “Family Guy” episode in question, said peeps needs to chill. In an interview yesterday with The New York Times, Friedman spoke out and said, “It’s not really an insult. I was doing my role, I’m an actor. … I was laughing at it.” She added, “[I turned on the TV and] I saw Sarah Palin with her son Trig. I’m like, ‘I’m not Trig. This is my life.’ I was making fun of Sarah Palin, but not her son.” Keep reading »