Tonawanda News


September 27, 2012

Stepping it up after all these years


Tonawanda News —

Do you know that I forget at times? I don’t look at him and think “My son has Down Syndrome.” I look at him and think, “Dude, if you whack your brother one more time, you’re cooling your heels in your room for a while” or “Where on earth did you get those gorgeous blue eyes, kid?”

And I hope that when other people look at him, they see the same thing. The differences, because they’re there ... but also the similarities.

This Saturday, we’ll be walking with hundreds of other families like ours as part of the Step Up For Down Syndrome Walk from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Coca-Cola Field, Buffalo. The event — like the Niagara County Buddy Walk (which to our sorrow we had to miss this year for the first time since 2007) — aims to celebrate the diversity of Western New York and the lives of kids like Jim and the adults they’ll become. 

And the families who love them.

We’re not looking for accolades for what we do. We’re just living our lives. We’re not looking for special honors, and we’re sure as heck not looking for pity. 

But we’re here to say that we’re part of the community ... and that while the unknown can be frightening, sometimes it’s not bad. 

And sometimes, in a different way, it’s every bit as good than the “known” you were expecting.

For more information on the Step Up walk, visit or call the Down Syndrome Parents Group of Western New York at 832-9334.

Jill Keppeler is a writer for the Tonawanda News. She can be reached at

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