Friday, January 19, 2007

OpEd ~ Siblings

My brother with Down syndrome spreads kindness
By Melissa Hart
Published: Wednesday, January 17, 2007

My 31-year-old brother has Down syndrome and lives at home near Los Angeles. He stays with me a few weeks a year to give our mother respite from chauffeuring him to Special Olympics, to movies with friends, and to either of his two jobs if he fails to catch the bus.

"I miss him," she tells me when I call from the Eugene Airport to say that he's arrived safely, if not entirely sober (Horizon Air offers complimentary microbrews).

"Live it up," I remind her. "He'll be back in a week."

Gail Udell, co-president of Emerald Family Down Syndrome Network, notes in a Jan. 11 letter to the editor that the termination rate for prediagnosed, prenatal Down syndrome is 80 percent to 90 percent. I watch my brother haul his suitcase off the airport carousel and wonder how my life would differ without him. He waves to the couple he's been sitting with on the plane....................

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