The leading human rights organization for all individuals with Down syndrome.

National Down Syndrome Society
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New York New York 10017
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Brandon Shines
Brandon Shines

Today, my son Brandon Zick is 24 years old. When I stop to think about how much my life has changed and how my direction in life has been refocused I am overcome with emotions and desires. Today I see a young man whom I was told would never develop into a person with a meaningful life. I never believed the professionals who were telling me this. I always knew that every life is precious and every person needs nothing more than a chance to develop to their full potential. You see, Brandon "shines."He lights up life for all who meet and greet him. His positive attitude and willingness to try new things grows daily. I have learned a great deal over these years. I now truly understand empathy, compassion, morals, values and ethics. Brandon has shown me the meaning of virtue. Brandon has shown me that we can change... we can help... we can overcome impossible odds! There is nothing that cannot be achieved if you believe! I wish more people could meet Brandon in order to see what is possible! He might not be able to read much and he can only write a little but be can teach others so much about love, life and how to truly become a happy person. He can change the mood in a room just by entering. His smile is eternal and his positive attitude is alluring. He does not follow a designed path and he no longer allows others to show him the way. He knows the way. He knows what path he want to follow. It is his own path - he created it and he has even shown others through his spirit that everyone has a path to create - not to follow. I thank God, my wife Michelle, my son Jeremiah and all of those who have helped me to better understand the true meaning of life - to love one another and to help whomever, wherever I can. Thanks Brandon! Happy Birthday!

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