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Friday, September 3, 2010

Happy Birthday Randy!

This weekend I had the distinct pleasure of celebrating my sister's 50th birthday.  When Randy was born, just 9 1/2 months after I arrived, my parents were told many sad things about Down's Syndrome children.  To their credit, my parents decided to raise her (not place her in an institution) and to fully integrate her into our family.  Though they were told she was "uneducatable and only partially trainable" she now reads on a 4th grade level, can do simple math, cooks a spectrum of foods, and can challenge most people on tv trivia!  When I was young, I had to cope with the notion that her probable life expectancy was only 20 years (at that point, most Down's Syndrome children were institutionalized and died of institutional diseases, not their Down's).  During college, she would come to visit me at Brown and while I went to classes, she would befriend everyone in the dorm, even some I barely knew.  Her charm and congeniality was infectious.
For nearly 25 years, Randy has lived semi-independently in a group home and worked steadily.
There is no doubt, having Randy as part of my family has influenced much of who I am.  My career in medicine is probably related as well.  If so, that's one more reason I have to thank her, as it has been a wonderful and rewarding career.
What lies in Randy's future is unknown.  Statistically, she has a high chance of early Alzheimer's but otherwise, her longevity and well being is probably very similar to others her age.  I look forward to celebrating many more landmark birthday's with my very special, "baby" sister!

1 comment:

  1. Happy Birthday to your sister! It's my baby brother's 42th birthday. :)