The National Advocate for People with Down Syndrome Since 1979

National Down Syndrome Society
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David's Great Story
David's Great Story

When I first met David, I knew there was something special about him. He looked a little different, of course. It was apparent that he talks and learns differently than me, but right away I knew there was something special. I had met a man with Down syndrome many years before and had befriended him or, more likely, he had befriended me. I always thought there was something special about him, too. Now that I was marrying David's sister, I would have the time to get to know him and learn more about him. He was already 46 years old. His mother was 84 and wheelchair bound. David and his mom shared the strongest bond I have ever seen between mother and child. When David was born, little was known about Down syndrome. He was not diagnosed until he was two years old, but his mother knew he was special. When it was suggested he be institutionalized she said, "No!" She knew David was a blessing. David lived with mom and his brother in Jacksonville, Florida. When we visited, I watched David dote over his aging mother and the rest of the family dote over David. This family understood what love was all about and at the center of it all was David. I saw how people felt good doing things for David. He has the innocence and tenderness of a child and the loyalty and commitment of a man. He is special. I like to take David bowling and to buy new music and I love his stories. He tells the same stories over and over with the same enthusiasm every time. He calls everything that happened before today "yesterday," but I learned that some of the stories he told me happened 35 to 40 years ago. These were stories about family, friends, school and work. Eighteen months before she finally passed at age 92, Mom was rushed to the hospital and the family was told she might not make it home to die. She came home, but was not ready to give up. David watched her constantly, not ready to let go. Near the end, while we were visiting, I took David for the day to get him out of the house. We bowled a little and stopped to buy music. Mom had not been responsive all morning and when we returned, she was awake only long enough to eat. That night we watched TV around her bed. She had not spoken in 24 hours when David gently snuggled in with her and said, "What are you thinking about, Mom?" She opened her eyes and replied, "You, baby." It was still weeks later before she finally let go. Years before she passed, I promised her that David was welcome in our home and I would introduce him to our community in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. David's great story is the inspiration for the Rehoboth Beach Boardwalk Buddy Walk®. In David's honor we created the Buddy Fest, a weekend of fun and inclusion for all who participate. In spite of his rock star status in Rehoboth Beach, David, at age 57, is still just David.




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Mary Brown, United States, IL
9/19/2011 10:37:20 AM
I had the pleasure of meeting the Diehls in San Diego at this year\'s Buddy Walk conference. What an amazing and inspiring story they have to tell. Really enjoyed Dennis's Great Story of David. I was so touched by the wonder of his words

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