With 2013 quickly drawing to a close, we thought we’d take a minute to reflect on some of the top stories we shared with you in the last year (in no particular order):
This viral video featuring Megan Squire, a high school senior with Down syndrome, was a finalist in a Good Morning America contest (which challenged teens from across the country to make their own music video set to Katy Perry’s song “Roar.”) Produced by students at Verrado High School in Buckeye, AZ, the video depicts Megan’s quest to become a cheerleader. Although the video did not win, Perry loved the video so much that she invited Megan to attend the American Music Awards as her date!
In November, a customer yelled at Chris Tuttle– a Wegman’s employee who has Asperger’s syndrome– for working too slowly. Afterward his sister posted about the incident online, and it quickly went viral: As of now, the post now has over 150,000 likes, and the community has rallied to support Chris.
An organization created a series of mannequins based on real people with disabilities– The beautiful process was documented in this video, and the mannequins were placed in store windows on Zurich’s main downtown street.
He crossed the finish line hours after the winners, but Jimmy Jenson still set a record at the ING New York City Marathon: He’s the first person with Down syndrome to complete the race.
Jenson, who is 48 and from Los Angeles, ran all 26.2 miles with his friend Jennifer Davis at his side. The pair met 12 years ago through the program Best Buddies, a group that aims to connect people who have intellectual disabilities with people who do not. When they met, neither of them were runners. But that changed when Jenson suggested they run a 5K together. Since that first race, the pair have run a number of races together, including the Los Angeles marathon this spring.
“A lot of people told my parents that they were very, very sorry. I guess they didn’t know then just how totally awesome I would turn out to be.” Tim is a business owner, running the world’s friendliest restaurant, located in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
We loved this great story about talented powerlifter Jon Stoklosa– “When asked why he likes lifting such heavy weights, Jon gets right to the point. “It’s fun,” he says, a slight smile creeping across his face.”
“You know that scene in ‘Dirty Dancing’ where Baby meets Johnny for the first time? It was kind of like that.” One couple’s love story.
Bonnie Brown, who has an intellectual disability, has raised her daughter Myra as a single mom. They gave us a window into their mother-daughter relationship last February on NPR’s Morning Edition.