Voices For Life

Voices for Life is an e-publication dedicated to informing and educating the public on pro-life and pro-family issues. We cover issues from conception until natural death, as well as all family life issues.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Dad’s Letter to His Daughter with Down Syndrome on Her Wedding Day Goes Viral


By Kristi Burton Brown
Live Action News

The TODAY Show sparked an outpouring of celebration when it posed a photo to its Facebook page on April 14. The photo showed Ryan and Jillian with their parents on their wedding day. Both Ryan and Jillian – who was smiling with the eternal smile of a joyful bride – have Down syndrome.

Paul, Jillian’s dad, shared a letter he had written to his daughter, and TODAY posted it for the whole world to see. The post already has more than 50,000 reactions, 5,700 shares, and 2,000 comments – many with parents celebrating the accomplishments and inherent beauty of their own children with Down syndrome.

In part, Paul wrote:

“Dear Jillian, I don’t know what the odds are of a woman born with Down syndrome marrying the love of her life. I only know you’ve beaten them … What we couldn’t do was make other kids like you. Accept you, befriend you, stand with you in the vital social arena. We thought, “What’s a kid’s life if it isn’t filled with sleepovers and birthday parties and dates to the prom?” I worried about you then. I cried deep inside on the night when you were 12 and you came downstairs to declare “I don’t have any friends.” 

You’re a natural when it comes to socializing. They called you The Mayor in elementary school, for your ability to engage everyone. You danced on the junior varsity dance team in high school. You spent four years attending college classes and made lifelong impressions on everyone you met. Do you remember all the stuff they said you’d never do, Jills? You wouldn’t ride a two-wheeler or play sports. You wouldn’t go to college. You certainly wouldn’t get married. Now … look at you. You’re the nicest person I know. Someone who is able to live a life of empathy and sympathy and without agendas or guile, is someone we all want to know.… 

A decade ago, when a young man walked to our door wearing a suit and bearing a corsage made of cymbidium orchids said, “I’m here to take your daughter to the homecoming, sir,” every fear I ever had about your life being incomplete vanished. Now, you and Ryan are taking a different walk together.” (Credit: Paul Daugherty via The Mighty)

The response to Paul’s love-filled letter to his daughter was astounding, as parents poured out their own hearts.

One dad wrote: “Dear paul, you've just made a grown man cry with your letter to your daughter. My little girl mia is down syndrome also and i also hope she can achieve these dreams in her life, i know now her mum and i will do all we can to help her achieve these dreams.”

From Facebook

A mom with a young baby girl exclaimed: “Awww the tears of happiness r just streaming down my face OMG I sooo hope this happens with our precious Scarlett!!! You have given me lots of hope!!!oxo!!!”

From Facebook

Another mom explained: “This letter said what I have been feeling, it made me cry and that’s something I don’t do well. I push every day with my daughter, we were told she wouldn’t walk and many other things, but with years for physio and me being stubbon and determined, she walk and trys to run… the sky has no limit…”

Read more letters and view photos from parents at: http://liveactionnews.org/

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