The Blessings of Down Syndrome – Straight Talk on Life Issues


Individuals who have Down syndrome are often the target of abortionists looking to kill them just because they have a disability. Down syndrome is not a curse. People with the condition deserve the same love and respect as anyone else and they should be protected from the violence of abortion. Brad and Victor are joined by Matthew Schwab, Judie Hockel, and Christi Hockel-Davenport to discuss the blessings of Down syndrome. Join us for this heart-warming and eye-opening episode of Straight Talk on Life Issues.  


A Reason for Hope – The Truth About Down Syndrome

Matthew has a youtube podcast series called Matthew Schwab Listens.  He interviews people who are doing great things with their lives.

Check him out here →

Every Life Matters

People with Down syndrome are too often considered expendable. In certain countries, government policy is to abort all babies with the genetic markers. In the process, the world is robbed of people who most joyfully and kindly shine brightest among us. In this special, Life Issues’ President Brad Mattes interviews Shauna Amick, whose daughter, Sarah, is the joy of her life. He also speaks with Katie Shaw, who has the condition, but has successfully lobbied to pass legislation protecting these lives. That and much more will be covered in this moving and informative special.

Learn more →


Life Issues Institute Down Syndrome Resources

Find several heartwarming stories of the joys and blessing Down syndrome children have brought to their families.  Plus find a great number of free resources.

Gigi’s Playhouse

Our Mission and Purpose: 

To change the way the world views Down syndrome and to send a global message of acceptance for all. 

Our Vision: 

To see a world where individuals with Down syndrome are accepted and embraced in their families, schools, and communities. 

Our Niche: 

We change lives through the consistent delivery of free educational, therapeutic-based, and career development programs for individuals with Down syndrome, their families, and the community, through a replicable playhouse model. 

Our Promise: 

A lifetime commitment to families. 


Christi Hockel-Davenport, born with Down syndrome on Christmas Day 1978, is the youngest of Judie and her husband Jack’s six children, and the one she least expected to marry and move halfway across the country from their northern California roots.

Christi and her husband, Austin, became nationally known speakers on their special marriage. They loved dancing and performing with their huge circle of friends in Dallas, Texas, where they lived in supported independence.

For ten years they were at the core of “Spotlight,” an acting troupe for people with special needs who created and acted  in an original musical every year. Christi is currently featured in a soon to be released documentary film, “Into the Spotlight,” which is all about that process while facing life’s challenges.

Matthew Schwab is a North Carolina native and public speaker. He also works at Ruckus Pizza, Pasta & Spirits and ballroom dance with his fiancé. He volunteers with GiGi’s Playhouse, a Down Syndrome Achievement Center, and recently joined the Board of Managers. He’s passionate about raising awareness and acceptance of Down syndrome and the entire Intellectual Developmental Disabilities community. 

Judie Hockel is a dental hygienist by education, a wife and mother by vocation, and, of necessity , an advocate for people who have Down syndrome to be all they can be, starting with youngest daughter, Christi, and followed by one of her 26 grandchildren who also has Down syndrome.

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