Photographer Julie Willson captures the joy and beauty in a lot of families, from engagements and weddings to new babies and milestones in kids’ lives.
She knows that each family and each child are beautiful and special in their own way — but sometimes, people can’t see how special a child really is if that child happens to be born with a disability, like this little boy who was bullied for his motor disorder.
Willson’s sister, Dina, was born with Down Syndrome. While some people might have only seen her as a kid with a disability, Willson and her parents knew better and saw her as the unique person she was.
Many people with Down Syndrome have other health complications, and so the family made sure that she made the most of the time she did have.
When Dina passed away four years ago, Willson decided that she needed to help others see the beauty of children with Down Syndrome and started this photography project to show the world how special these children really are.
Julie Willson, who took each of these photos, grew up with a sister, Dina, who had Down Syndrome. She calls Dina the “the best thing that could have happened to our family.”
Sadly, Dina passed away four years ago due to congestive heart failure. This is common in those who have Down Syndrome.
Down Syndrome is a genetic disorder caused by the presence of an extra chromosome. It can affect anyone, but thanks to medical advancements, people with Down Syndrome are living longer, happier, healthier lives.
But because of her heart condition, Dina was not expected to live long. However, with help from her family, she doubled her life expectancy.
Julie says that thanks to her parents, Dina lived a full, happy life.
Willson describes Dina as having a “sweet, yet stubborn” personality, and that she was able to love unconditionally and didn’t waste her time worrying.
As a result of knowing and growing up with Dina, Willson today wants to help others appreciate people with Down Syndrome, and help them see their individual, unique personalities.
She wants to let parents know that while it has its challenges, Down Syndrome is nothing to fear, and won’t make the child’s or the parents’ lives any worse.
And to show people everywhere that those with Down Syndrome have just as much to offer the world as anyone else.
She hopes that these photos will help people see that children with Down Syndrome have so much to give.
Willson hopes that her photos will help everyone, including parents, see Down Syndrome as simply an aspect of other people instead of something that will destroy their lives.
She also hopes it will help people become aware of the needs of those with Down Syndrome, and get them the resources to meet them.
You can learn more about the disorder on the National Down Syndrome Society website, and see more of Willson’s photos on her Facebook.
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