World Down Syndrome Day

Bradley Mattes   |   March 21, 2024

Today is World Down Syndrome Day. The date was selected because Down syndrome occurs when an extra 3rd of the 21st chromosome is present.  

I want to introduce you to some remarkable people who happened to have Down syndrome. But first, regardless of how “gifted” or “famous” individuals are with this condition, they are all deserving of value and respect. 

Straight Talk on Life Issues, our weekly half-hour radio program featured two extraordinary people, Matthew Schwab and Christi Hockel-Davenport. Christi’s mom, Judie Hockel, also joins us and is pretty remarkable herself.  

Mathew Schwab

Matthew has tens of thousands of followers on social media. During our interview he presented himself as thoughtful, smart, and insightful, which may explain his impressive presence on YouTube and Instagram. 

But Matthew’s interests don’t end with social media. He recently became engaged to Lucia. Check out this adorable video clip of his proposal. It is priceless!  

Matthew also does public speaking and seems to have a natural gift, saying he doesn’t ever get nervous in front of a crowd. In addition, he serves on the board of directors for GiGi’s Playhouse Raleigh and First in Families of NC, both advocacy organizations. He is an amazing young man, and during the interview I found myself wishing I could be more like Matthew. 

Christi Hockel-Davenport

Christi Hockel-Davenport is a determined individual. It was love at first sight when she met Austin. From that point on, it was her job to convince him that she was the girl for him. They were nationally known speakers about their marriage and enjoyed dancing and performing. She and Austin were central members of Spotlight, an acting troupe which included performing an original musical each year. 

The two lovebirds enjoyed a ten-year marriage before Austin tragically died from seizures. Judy said that of her six children, Christi was the last one who she thought would get married and move halfway across the nation. A documentary featuring Christi, called Into the Spotlight will soon be released. Check out the trailer. 

This week in my daily radio commentaries, Life Issues we are also featuring individuals with Down syndrome. 

Francesco was worried his brother Carlo who has Down syndrome wouldn’t find fulfilling work. So, he actually moved to Italy where he learned the art of making authentic gelato. Once back in America, Francesco built a small business called La Marmotta Gelateria, a moveable cart laden with delicious authentic gelato. Staff with intellectual disabilities provide the tasty treat at birthdays, weddings, or other events in the Washington, DC area. 

Parliamentarian Mar Galceran

Mar Galceran made history in Spain by being the first Parliamentarian with Down syndrome. Like others, she spent decades working her way up the party structure. Mar wants to demonstrate that people with her condition can achieve new heights.  

Researchers recently analyzed the DNA of people buried in ancient graves, searching for those with Down syndrome. Of the six babies they discovered, evidence demonstrates from the locations and items buried with them that they were valued and cherished members of their families and communities. 

World Down Syndrome Day is a day to be celebrated. Worldwide, these individuals bring so many blessings to family, friends, and anyone around them if given the chance. Thankfully, more are being mainstreamed into society than ever before.   

Visit our website where we have loads of free resources to equip you to be an advocate for those wrongly targeted for abortion.  

Defending life for all,  

Bradley Mattes,

President, Life Issues Institute

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