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

National Down Syndrome Society
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My C.J.
C.J. and me on October 1, 2005
C.J. and me on October 1, 2005
My C.J.

My brother, C.J., was born in 1993 with Down syndrome. I can confidently state that he is my inspiration for many of the things I do in my life and want to do in the future. Although he passed away in December 2007 at the age of 14, he taught me more lessons than I ever could have imagined possible. His larger-than-life personality showed me it's ok and a good thing to be spontaneous and outgoing. There is no question that he was a performer. C.J. loved to be in the spotlight, always putting on impromptu performances for my family, especially when guests were around. He particularly loved to play his guitar and sing Eric Clapton songs for anyone who would listen and sing along with him. C.J. had a magical way of putting a smile on everyone's face. His charismatic personality, infectious laughter, and smile always brought joy into the room. On top of his love for music and movies, C.J. loved his family and our dog, Layla. He would lovingly refer to our dog as "My Layla," and transferred the prefix of "my" to the name of every person he cared about (I was referred to as "My Sarah," and so on). Of course, as my younger brother, we did have our fair share of fights, but they were nothing that couldn't be solved by laughing about it later in the day. I learned to be patient, not only with others but with myself as well. And, although clich', I learned not to take anything for granted and to be thankful for all that I have and all my experiences. I am still learning lessons, and I'm sure I will be for the rest of my life, but the most special times to me are those times I had with C.J. I strive to be like him, with his carefree and outgoing persona. The most important thing to him was to have his family and friends together, and for all of us to be happy. He certainly did a good job of doing so! There is an endless amount of things I could say about him, and it's difficult to choose just what to say. He taught me that it's important to have fun, and to be thankful for the time we share with our families and those close to our hearts. I feel so blessed to have grown up with him. I know that he is always with me, one way or another, and I am happy for all I have learned from him. I love you, C.J., and not a day goes by that I don't think about you.

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Comments (1,000 character limit)

Karen, United States, CT
12/2/2013 2:32:16 PM
Great story! I "know" C.J. just a little bit through his father- so reading this added to my sense of this wonderful young man. May he always be blessed. I know her forever changed those lives he touched, and it is in this- the effect people have on one another- that we remember and hold close to our hearts. Karen

Bruce Nishball, United States, CT
12/2/2013 1:40:32 PM
Great story Sarah. We could all learn a few things from C.J.

Uncle Frank, United States, CT
10/3/2011 2:29:46 PM
Love that great story Sarah Wonk.

Joanne Walsh, United States, PA
10/3/2011 3:43:33 PM
It brought tears to my eyes...I was lucky enough to have met C.J. and understand what a powerful force he was...nicely done Sarah.

Linda Terek, United States, PA
10/3/2011 10:05:23 PM
Sarah what a great tribute to your brother. Although I was only in CJ\'s company several times, I certainly know how much he loved being the center of attention. I know he brought joy to all those in his presence. In his short life, he definitely left his

Brittany Barden, United States, TX
10/6/2011 10:39:04 PM
So beautiful... thank you for sharing. I'm sure CJ is still singing in heaven.

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