A Mother and Her Son with Down Syndrome Receive Support and Friendship After Asking For Help
Making friends had never been a problem for young Christian Bowers until he finished school. Like many adults with Down Syndrome, finding and maintaining friendships proved to be a challenging task.
This left Christian feeling lonely and isolated.
On his mother’s watchful eye, Donna Herter, Christian’s condition became even more worrisome as he sank further into the dumps with not a single friend to visit him. It was in his mother’s desperation that she took to Facebook, offering compensation to any local guys in Rochester, Minnesota, who could spare two hours of their time to hang out with Christian. With a heavy heart, she wrote the post and hoped for the best.
As a nurse on the night shift, Donna had put the post up at 4:00 AM before ending her workday and going to sleep. When she woke up, it had amassed 5,000 comments. The outpouring of support from the community was overwhelming.
“I was freaking out. My hands were shaking, I was sweating. I was just looking for some local guys, I didn’t want to invite like the entire world into our house,” she told CBS News.
Her friends encouraged her to take a closer look at the comments, and she found parents suggesting other young men for Christian to meet. She eventually found seven fellows from Wentzville, Minnesota who visit Christian once a week on a rotating schedule.
Today, Christian goes to sleep with a smile on his face, feeling more excited about the future now than ever before. His life changed when he befriended these seven amazing guys who willingly give up their time to hang out.
Friendships are essential for people living with Down Syndrome. From school, many eventually find themselves needing to take a more precise attitude towards socializing. Christian had to deal with this reality, but as his mom says, he craves friendship with the rest of the population as well.
Christian has now found what he has been longing for – a sense of normalcy and belonging with people his age. Spending time with them is more precious than any material possession he could ever dream of having.
One of Christian’s closest friends, James Hasting, says hanging out with the young man has changed his perspective on life. He said: “it’s a big misconception that we are helping him when in fact he is helping us.”
It’s quite remarkable how a simple act of kindness can create an environment of love, trust, and understanding amongst people with different needs. All it takes is a bit of empathy, a listening ear, and an open heart.
Christian Bowers’ story is a prime example of the power of kindness and inclusion. It is a testament to the power of friendship and how it can change the lives of people like Christian who have a genuine need for such interaction. Together, we can make the world a better place by opening up our hearts and embracing everyone around us.
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