October is ‘Down Syndrome Awareness Month,’ a chance to celebrate people with Down syndrome. Here at News 25 we are shining a light on Down syndrome with our series ‘Up with Downs.’
News 25’s Kristen Anzuini spoke with a local family about their little boy’s journey.
Meet Max Powers. The nine-year-old loves to play video games, make people laugh, play basketball, and he also happens to have Down syndrome. Ben Powers, Max’s dad, said, “He’s like the hub of our family. He’s kind of the centerpiece now, the last one to our group, but he really is the centerpiece.”
Max’s parents, Rebecca and Ben Powers, say he has been a blessing in their lives, but his journey started out rough from the very beginning. Rebecca said, “A doctor in Mobile said ‘I’m looking and I’m sorry to tell you that he has Down syndrome and he is going to need open heart surgery.’ He only has one valve, two chambers. She took out her wheel and said you have 14 days to decide.”
Now Max is as healthy as can be, but Rebecca tells News 25 it was an emotional pregnancy. “I, like most parents, felt devastated. It’s hard to explain how overwhelming it can be. But now, nine years later, I want everyone to know that it is ok. They are amazing. They are different, but they are amazing and loving and joyful and helpful. They make so many people happy. We really feel blessed. Like he said from the beginning, we are lucky.”
Now, Rebecca wants other expecting mothers of babies with Down syndrome to know you are not alone and help is available right here in South Mississippi. One local resource is Gulf Coast Down Syndrome Society. “It’s like you pack, and you plan to go to Paris and then at the last minute you get to the airport and they say no, you are going to Norway. It’s still a trip, it’s still love, it’s still great, it is just different. But like you said all of the support, the Gulf Coast Down Syndrome Society, if you have gotten this diagnosis call them, they brought me material in the hospital, a basket, balloons.”
‘Up with Downs’ is brought to you by Encore Rehabilitation.