A New Perspective

Last night, right before I went to bed I decided to check my Facebook. I noticed one of my friends had posted a video. I usually don’t watch videos that my friends post, but something about this video caught my eye. When I pressed the play button, I could have never expected the emotions I would feel during the video. These emotions ranged from sad, to angry, and upon conclusion, happiness. This story is reminded me of the YMCA’s core values of honesty, caring, respect and responsibility. Grab a tissue, it’s a tear jerker!

The story starts out describing a man, Heath White, who was seemingly perfect. He has always been a star athlete, he got excellent grades his whole school career, and he was an accomplished air force pilot turned FBI agent. To top it all off, he proposed to his middle school sweetheart right in front of his whole air force graduation class. During his wife’s second pregnancy, his “perfect” world crumbled around him. He became distant and very unhappy when he found out that his second daughter would be born with Down syndrome. His main concern when he found out was: how will this reflect on me?

One day his embarrassment of his “imperfect” daughter turned into pride. This occurrence happened because he was tickling her, and just like any other child would do, she giggled. That simple moment made him realize he was wrong about his daughter, and he then decided to write her a letter of apology that he will read to her when she is older. He didn’t just stop at the letter, though. He got “Down Syndrome” tattooed across his chest stating “the first thing you see when you see Paisley is Down Syndrome, so I want the first thing you see when you see me to also be Down Syndrome”. The story doesn’t stop here, either. To show his love for his daughter even more than he already had, he starting running races again, but this time, not alone. Heath pushed Paisley in a stroller during many 5k and 10k races over the past five years. The total mileage of their 5k and 10ks equaled 321 miles. 321 is a special number because it represents Down Syndrome because Down Syndrome is a third copy of the 21st chromosome.

This story shows that no matter where we start in our relationships, we can finish strong and supportive. The YMCA teaches the youth in our care to accept everyone and treat all with respect, and this dad showed the world how much he truly loved and respected his little girl. How can you show the YMCA’s core values in your day-to-day life?

To check out this video for yourself, click here!

Contributed by Meghan Ackerman, Marketing Intern

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