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In spite of her Down syndrome, ‘she’s just like any other kid’

paisley down

With this past week’s story about people offering to adopt an unborn child diagnosed with Down syndrome, this item from ESPN Video takes on new significance.

It’s an emotionally powerful story from E:60 s Tom Rinaldi about a perfectionist US Air Force pilot and marathon runner who was crushed to learn he and his wife were expecting a baby with Down syndrome.

Heath White pressured his wife, Jennifer, about having an abortion, but she refused. By his own admission “scared and selfish,” Heath said, “My main concern was what people would think about me … What weakness inside me caused that? I felt like I was getting broken baby. All I could think about was why me?”

When Paisley was born March 16, 2007, Heath stopped running competitively. He was filled with self pity and emotionally absent from his family.

Then came the day he tickled Paisley. She laughed and tried to push him away. It was a moment of transformation for Heath.

“I realized she’s just like any other kid,” he said. “She’s my kid.”

Heath began to run again, but now he ran pushing Paisley in a stroller. On March 4, 2012, Heath and Paisley completed 321 race miles together … and important number as it symbolizes the genetic disorder that causes Down syndrome — the third replication of 21st chromosome.

Heath now understands what he didn’t comprehend before: “Everything I’ve done, everything I’ve tried to accomplish, it was never going to be perfect. But my love for Paisley, that’s perfect.”

Watch the video by clicking here or on the video image above.

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2 thoughts on “In spite of her Down syndrome, ‘she’s just like any other kid’

  1. Pingback: In spite of her Down syndrome, ‘she’s just like any other kid’ | kainos

  2. Erin Packenham on said:

    Dear Heath,
    Your story is truly humbling. Hopefully one day you may see this post. You mentioned in one part of the piece that you are worried for her future. If she will be made fun of and bullied. In the fall of 2008, my school elected Jasmine, a classmate with Downs, Homecoming Queen. It was so spectacular and rewarding seeing her accept her earned crown and flowers! I know some kids will not see her as an equal, but I beg you to be patient. You have already spent years loving her. We are racing to catch up. When we do, you may be surprised! God Bless!

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