When I first heard Ariana had been diagnosed I realized how ignorant I was to Down syndrome. I knew it had to do with an extra chromosome, but I was not aware of anything else. I’m embarrassed to say that because something didn’t affect me I chose to be uneducated about it. I’ve started to do research on it and have subconsciously made a pledge to Ariana to learn more and be involved more in the community.
The most important thing I’ve learned so far is that Down syndrome is not a life sentence! I have read about so many successful people who were told they had a disability and refused to accept that.
•Karen Gaffney, diagnosed with T21, swam the English Channel when she was 23. She also successfully swam 9 miles across Lake Tahoe in 6 hours. Aside from her physical achievements she also received her Associates Degree in Science. She is now a public speaker teaching people how to overcome limitations.
•Eli Reimer was the first teenager to ever climb Mt. Everest.
•Judith Scott was famous for her sculptures.
•Giusi Spagnolo was the first woman with Downs to graduate from a university in Europe.
•Jimmy Jenson ran the New York marathon.
The list of successful people with Down’s syndrome is endless. We need to embrace the fact that it is what we make of it, if we believe the biases set out we will not allow Ariana to live a successful life. My hope is that I can help be a part of adding Ariana’s name to the successful people with Down syndrome. I hope that we can help her tear down the walls society has built with preconceived beliefs of what she is capable of. Ariana Bautista will be known as a success story mark my words.