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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Best friends!
Best friends!

In July 2012 my daughter, Madison, and her best friend, Reichen, both celebrated turning four!  

Four years ago we didn’t know Reichen’s family. On July 4th when he was being born I was having my baby shower and at the time, I was blissfully ignorant about Down syndrome. Being 23 and pregnant with my second daughter, Down syndrome was nowhere in my mind or my husband’s. Then 20 days later on July 24th my baby girl was born and that is the day that ignorance was no longer allowed. Of course I didn’t know that day just what joy that extra little chromosome would bring and all the wonderful people I would meet because of it. 

Fast forward three months to our first Buddy Walk. I met a woman with adorable twins and learned that one of them has Down syndrome. It was exciting to meet someone who had a child so close to my child’s age; we exchanged numbers and promised to meet up. That meeting is what I believe is a big part of the Buddy Walk - if not for that I would not have met this amazing woman who would soon be one of my best friends and greatest confidants. As promised we setup a play date later that month, then another and another! We have continued getting together as much as possible and in doing so, have watched friendships grow not just between us but also our children. 

With Down syndrome there are so many emotions we are afraid to express to people because we are scared of the reaction we may get. Having a person who knew exactly what I was going through and in fact was going through it at the same time was life changing. I was never ashamed to call her crying about fears I had or ignorant people, sometimes doctors, I came across. She has always been there with complete understanding and never judging. Watching our children celebrate their birthdays every year makes me so happy because I know just as I have my friend who understands me and is always there for me, our children are building that same relationship year after year. That includes not only our children who have Down syndrome, but also our children who do not. Just as we need each other they will too and I am so happy that what started and continues as one of my greatest friendships is also turning into great friendships for both of my daughters as well.

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Anita (martino) Castillo, United States, CA
8/22/2012 4:57:15 AM
How beautiful this story is, it is touching.Two beautiful little hearts to match their beautiful little faces. Reichen is my little cousin, son of Eric Haidlen and the grandson of my cousin Julie Haidlen. I agree it's so important to have people in your life that understand what you're going through. Life is precious, children are gifts from blessed all of you are. Reiken and Madison you are darling and I love this photo. Love, cousin Anita C. P.S. This story is a winner!

Julie Brown, United States, CA
8/21/2012 11:49:38 PM
This is such a beautiful and touching story. Reichen is my cousin, son to my cousin Erich Haidlen.

Diana, United States, CA
2012-08-21 10:54
Beautiful story....Beautiful children!!!!

Lisa Gage, United States, CA
2012-08-20 16:06
Wonderful story and beautiful picture!

Pete Dutton, United States, CA
2012-08-20 14:14
A very inspiring story and look at those happy faces. They are GOD's special people.

Ninette Bavaro-Latronica, United States, CA
2012-08-20 11:35
I love a good story about a special friendship...N

Carmen Skeen, United States, CA
2012-08-19 10:01
What a beautiful story. I truly believe that Downs Syndrome babies are special little gifts from God. How wonderful it is when their loving parents rejoice in their differences and embrace their loving and trusting natures.

Sheila Machado, United States, CA
2012-08-19 01:04
Very touching and wonderful to hear of the friendship that has developed for both families.

Mike Elliott, United States, CA
08/15/2012 22:23:14
I have seen Down Syndrome youth at work and they are fiercely exacting. Anyone who fears hiring a Down Syndrome person out of fear of what their other employees or customers will do or say will be in for a surprise at how quickly these special people turn skeptics into fans.

Emily Ferreira, United States, CA
08/13/2012 23:19:18
Madison is my granddaughter and such a blessing in my life. I'm so grateful for the love and bond that we both share. She and big sister Taylor are the light in my life.umbroes

Jeanette Olvera, United States, CA
8/26/2012 4:34:40 PM
Friendship is priceless!!

Peggy Mitchell, United States, AZ
10/22/2012 10:09:39 AM
God only gives these children to very special people, I have a Grand Daughter with DS and she is very smart adult 27 years old and knows the computer very very well, and can do anything any one else can do. We are very blessed to have Jessica.

Crissy Duffy, United States, CA
10/26/2012 10:18:24 AM
Your have a beautiful daughter

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