On March 21 we celebrate World Down Syndrome Day. We celebrate uniqueness and joy and individuality. We strive for acceptance and respect for a group of people who are far too often demeaned, underestimated, and marginalized. Today I also celebrate Kaitlyn, whose far too brief time on this earth left a light that still shines brightly.
Kaitlyn passed away in December, 2013 after a brief battle with illness. She had Moyamoya disease, a little-known condition that can affect individuals with Down Syndrome. Her loved ones were stunned with grief, and it sent a shockwave through the local community. It seemed inconceivable that her life was taken so early. She was only 15 years old.
Kaitlyn had a lot to teach us about living and loving. She lived enthusiastically and joyfully. She loved unconditionally and freely without expectations or conditions.
Among her favorite things were the color pink, Disney movies, music, dancing, and her family. She showed those around her that true beauty lies in being, as her mother so eloquently put it, “Perfectly imperfect.”