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What do you think about detours?

In December 1995 my wife and I were driving down a road we had been on before. We knew the road pretty well by now– six amazing trips that had culminated with cries of joy and six new journeys. These journeys had made us the proud parents of three bouncy boys and three giggly girls. And now we were once again taking this remarkable trek, but this time…   there was a detour.
Jonathon David was born to us just after Christmas – there was great joy that night. But the next day, I walked into my wife’s hospital room and saw tears in her eyes. Something was wrong. The doctor told us that this little baby boy was born with Down Syndrome, my mind went numb, and my emotions exploded. This boy would never be normal – but then, who is?
            Those first days were some of the toughest days of my life. The problem was not with Jonathon, it was with me – with my expectations and perceptions of what is truly valuable in life. I now smile as I write that Jonathon’s life has changed me and my family. He smiles and laughs more than anyone I know, he loves life and every night when I come home, he runs out and hugs me and then runs around the house yelling, “Daddy’s home!”  This little boy loves me.

This detour turned into an extraordinarily beautiful turn in our lives, filling us with a new perspective on the panorama of life.  We want to continue to travel on this “detour” and to support other families who may be experiencing some of those first emotions and misperceptions. My wife is currently the president of the Down Syndrome Connection of Northwest Arkansas. This is a group that helps bring practical hope and help to families in this tri-state region by providing a support network, resources and assistance with the specific needs that a child with Down syndrome might need.  In addition to assisting families, Down Syndrome Connection also endeavors to raise awareness and help educate health care providers as well as the general public.

Thanks for your help – and come join us on the d-tour,

Toby Thompson (Jon’s Dad)

 


Info on Down Syndrome

Every person has millions of cells.  Each of those cells typically has 46 chromosomes that are divided into 23 pairs.  For some reason people with Down Syndrome receive an extra chromosome giving them 47.  This extra chromosome can produce a variety of resulting characteristics commonly associated with Down Syndrome: lower muscle tone, a flatter facial appearance, upward slanting eyes, smaller ears, reduced mental abilities.

Along with these characteristics there is a greater occurrence of heart defects, intestinal problems, respiratory infections, hearing difficulties and other potential problems.