Romance isn't the only thing the Philippines celebrates in February. It is also the National Down Syndrome Consciousness Month under Proclamation No. 157. Many who have the chromosomal condition live full lives, thanks to the support of a family who sees beyond their disability. These snippets from the lives of four Pinoy kids with Down syndrome show their humor, strength, and love for life. 1. Johanna Yuzon
If cute is what you’re looking for, then cute is what you’re going to get! Mom Suzanna Yuzon says they were traveling from the U.S. to Manila, where dad Johnmel is based when they took the video. She and 4-year-old Johanna were getting a little bored on their long journey when they decided to get a little silly. “Just pretend to play with the in-flight entertainment! She turned around and said cheese when she saw that I was taking a video,” Suzanna told SmartParenting.com.ph.
Here's a photo of Johanna with her grandparents (or "Wowo" and "Wowa" as she calls them) and little sister Jacey.
“I thought Joey was so lucky to be born into this family, with very supportive grandparents and great grandparents. But now we realize we are the lucky ones to have her in the family,” she told us. You can check out more of their adventures on their Facebook page, A Little Bit Extra.
2. Kian Rushton
Do a quick scroll of former Pinoy Big Brother star Vickie Rushton's Instagram, and soon you'll be well-acquainted with her big brother, Kian. The 27-year-old gets a lot of love from his celebrity sister; he recently even went viral for a date they went on. They drank strawberry shakes together (Kian was craving for it) and visited a music store afterward where they bought a ukulele, a flute, and a harmonica.
“He was very, very, very, happy. Iniwan na nga ako sa loob ng shop! Sobrang excited makauwi,” she wrote. “I don't want to disappoint him. I just really hope and pray that he is happy. I want him to be happy in this lifetime. He is the best. He is more than just the best.” Her love for her Kuya transcends the digital screens and goes straight to our hearts.
Babies need their exercise too, and little Lucas is no exception! Seen above is the 2-month-old working hard to keep strong and healthy. “He is doing his tummy-time exercise, which was advised by his therapist,” mom Denise Alcantara told Smart Parenting. And who’s that in the background cheering him on? It’s big sister, Ate Chelsea! “She loves and adores her brother so much,” mom gushes. Even now you’re already a wonderful sibling, Chelsea!
Lucas turned 3 months old a day before Valentine's Day! Here he is giving a bright-eyed smile to the camera.
4. JJ Maque
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Ever since he was born, JJ has been fighting battles. At birth, he was diagnosed with congenital pneumonia and admitted in the ICU. At 7 months old, doctors successfully revived him, and he was put on life support. JJ has had multi-organ problems, and every day he's faced with social discrimination. “It is an understatement to call him strong for that only refers to physical strength, says mom Candice Grace Cabras Maque. “He is a brave soul because, amidst all these, he had the courage to conquer what many of us fear.”
Read more of her thoughts on raising JJ in her book Life with JJ: Lessons from a Special Mom. Proceeds will go to JJ’s therapy and to the Down Syndrome Association of the Philippines (DSAPI) Cebu chapter. Order a copy here.