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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Joey’s Ups!
Joey & Marianne at a Will You Be My Friend? Book Signing
Joey & Marianne at a Will You Be My Friend? Book Signing
Joey’s Ups!

My big brother Joey, I love him more than words can express! He and the Lord have made me who I am today! His love caused me to have a heart of compassion, a desire to help our community and change our world! After having been a special education teacher & professional advocate I brought Joey to live with me after some sketchy issues at his former house. When it didn't work out four months later, I was devastated and racked with guilt. The day we moved Joey into the new group home he was more than ready and said “bye” as if he lived there is whole life, not putting any shame or guilt on me. I cried like a baby as I drove away and stepped back from the “disability” arena feeling a little lost. Seven years later mulling over life and jobs with my hubby I realized my passion was back! That night I got up at 1:00 am and wrote a children’s book series about Joey and his life experiences. I had the first book written in one hour and illustrated within a month. Now 18 months later and the first book is published and available at Barnes and Nobles bookstores, Joey and I are closer than ever! As his youngest of six siblings, only sister and co-guardian I carry many roles for Joey but the best one is being his little sister! His smiles and little antics crack me up, helping to remind me that life is short and we are all more alike than different. All of us need a little more help at one point or another, we are all valuable members of our communities & families. Each one of us has and is a unsung hero! Now I am shouting it from the roof tops! JOEY IS MY HERO! Thanks to Joey I am now a published author, speaker and business owner. All was inspired by him and for him! As a sibling, guardian and professional in the field of disabilities I carry a unique perspective. My book about Joey, Will You Be My Friend? has acted as a spring board to speak about how to transition care of a loved one smoothly and why the sibling role is so important. That rolled into starting a service to help aging families find, sort through and organize supports, resources and materials for when the transition takes place. The most fun part is our book signings as this picture shows. Joey is the center of attention at all our local book signings and loves signing or stamping the books giving them an extra special touch. He especially enjoys meeting the pretty girls! Joey teaches me more than any teacher ever will. Even when it is hard to handle the truth and the future, his smile and hugs always brighten the day. I wouldn't have it any other way! 

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Comments (1,000 character limit)

Carl Marchi, United States, MA
12/14/2016 9:28:51 PM
You, Joey, and your work are awesome! You have God's heart!

Barbara Thompson, United States, AR
9/4/2013 5:46:32 PM
Thank you for your wonderful story! As a parent with 3 children (one with DS) I would hope our two older siblings will be the advocate for our youngest when we are no longer able to care for her.

amy paegel, United States, AZ
8/31/2013 1:49:51 PM

Susan (McGrew) Jones, United States, AZ
8/28/2013 1:18:44 PM
This is such an awesome book. I have worked with Joey in the past and I know that he can be a challenge at times. It is great to see a sibling being involved as Marianne is. It is rare for a sibling of a disabled person who wants to be involved with their family member. YOU ROCK MARIANNE! I miss you too Joey!

Onya, United States, MI
8/28/2013 5:53:52 AM
It's great to hear a sibling's perspective! Looking forward to reading your book!

Sue Adelman, United States, WA
8/27/2013 11:36:54 PM
Joey always inspires

Syndi F Sills, United States, MO
8/26/2013 4:55:04 PM
From one sister who had a brother with DS to another, let's here it for the sisters!!!! Keep keeping on girl! <3<3<3

Melissa Montrose, United States, FL
8/26/2013 9:00:29 AM
You Rock!!!! You are an amazing sister. I know your parents are very proud of you. Thank you so much for taking care of your brother.

ana, Morocco,
8/20/2013 8:33:52 PM

Beth Luckhurst, United States, SD
8/18/2013 3:59:44 PM
Great story!

Angel Peters, United States, PA
8/18/2013 12:30:02 AM

Heather Wood, United States, TX
8/16/2013 10:14:52 AM
Go Joey!!

Anonymous , United States, CA
8/13/2013 6:10:28 PM
This is a great book to educate others about adults with Down syndrome. Great for new parents!

Craig Lemke, United States, AZ
8/9/2013 9:58:31 AM
Great Story- true life..

Vanessa Southard, United States, AZ
8/9/2013 1:35:22 AM
Marianne and Joey's story is a powerful story of sibling love and friendships that are possible. Their story helps spread love to defeat bullying and helps build community.

Barbara Chapman, United States, CA
8/8/2013 11:49:09 PM
Hello , Im voting for Joey. Im Barbara Ann Chapman , Im Ronnie Solinsky fiance'.

Diana Bramlett, United States, AZ
8/8/2013 11:12:47 PM
I have had the honor of becoming a friend of Joey's and he always greets me with a smile-even when his morning may not be going the way he wants. As soon as you make eye contact with him, that sparkle begins to shimmer in his eyes. Marianne brings a truly unique perspective to their story that informs the rest of us about the twists and turns, the difficulty and delight that being a sibling and guardian to Joey brings. I love their story. It encourages and informs; and often helps me to change my own perspective on life as I know it.

Terry Hagen, United States, SC
8/8/2013 10:50:23 PM
Go Joey!!!!!

sherrie cheeks, United States, AZ
8/8/2013 9:27:54 PM
congradulations.Hope the best for you.

carolyn saulls, United States, WA
8/7/2013 8:45:56 PM
Marianne is always realdy for what life brings her way because she sees the big picture with clarity and take the challenges life brings each day as opportunities to learn. God has blessed us with her loving ways.

Tammy Brewer, United States, AZ
8/7/2013 4:10:33 PM

Marianne Marts, United States, AZ
8/7/2013 10:29:15 AM
You can order our book at or if you would like more information about transition of care goto Thanks for voting!

Karl Marts, United States, AZ
8/7/2013 10:21:34 AM
Joey is the best brother in law. I can be weird self and he loves it! He has made me a better person!

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