October 15, 2008 at 9:48 pm #3207
Senior With Down Syndrome Crowned High School Queen
The title of homecoming queen is typically reserved for the head cheerleader or student class president, but not so at one Texas high school where this year’s queen saw hundreds of onlookers moved to tears as she was crowned.
"There wasn’t a dry eye to be seen," said Carolyn Pass, the mother of newly crowned queen Kristin Pass, who was born with Down syndrome 18 years ago.
Kristin Pass told ABCNews.com that she was thrilled to receive the crown.
"I was surprised and happy about [winning]," she said.
The crowd at the Aledo High School football stadium erupted into cheers and gave her a standing ovation during halftime at Friday evening’s game, Pass said.
"Everyone said ‘good job,’" she said.
Down syndrome affects one in every 733 babies born each year, according to the National Down Syndrome Society, and occurs when a person has three, not two, copies of the 21st chromosome.
And while some may assume Pass’ condition might alienate her from her peers, the teen’s family and friends say that she’s always had a lot of friends.
"I don’t think there is another human in this world who has as many friends as Kristin does," said Chari Hust, Kristin’s aunt. "She’s a great kid."
Kristin was one of three senior girls chosen from a field of about 15 to vie for the title, and she was as shocked as everyone else when the results of the vote were announced, her aunt said.
"Her smile was probably as big as the state of Texas," said Hust of her niece’s reaction to her prize. "She kept mouthing ‘thank you’ from the stage.
"Everyone in the stands burst into tears — I’ve never heard anything so loud in my life," Hust said. "Everyone was on their feet yelling, ‘Yeah, Kristin!’ louder than they had been cheering during the game."
Quashing any doubts that the results may have been fixed in Pass’ favor, Hust emphasized that there was no foul playbehind the scenes.
"There was no campaign to make sure that Kristin won — this naturally happened," Hust said. "She is the coolest kid in the whole wide world."
On top of battling the hardships of living with Down syndrome — such as cognitive delays and an increased risk for heart defects and respiratory and hearing problems — Pass’ father died suddenly two years ago.
Her father’s absence meant tweaking the high school’s tradition of having the homecoming queen candidates escorted to the event by their fathers.
Kristin Pass, 18, was named homecoming queen Friday night at her Texas High School, beating two other finalists for the crown.
For Pass, it was her grandfather, David Campbell, who led her onstage to be crowned.
"It was very emotional," said Campbell, who also drove the red convertible Kristin rode in during the homecoming parade held by the school earlier in the week. "You can’t measure how proud I was. Every fiber in my body was happy for her.
"She didn’t say much [when she was crowned], she was too busy smiling," he said. "I gave her a kiss on the cheek and a hug and she was kind of letting it soak in. It got real when we got to the sidelines. All her friends came over and she was giving high-fives to everyone."
Campbell said that while Pass’ post-graduation plans have not been finalized, he is sure that her strong work ethic and intelligence will help her succeed.
Man Sees Wife And Kids For First Time
Miracle op gives blind guy his first look at wife and children.
He had loved her voice since he first heard it in 1984. He had kissed her face a thousand times and held her hand. But he had never seen her – until now.
Michael May (54) had been blind since childhood. Then a miracle operation gave him back the gift of sight and his first ever look at his wife, as well as his two kids!
He lost his sight at the age of three. While playing with a powder he had found on the grounds of a chemical factory, it exploded and damaged his eyes.
But Michael never gave up hope. He learned quickly. He studied and founded an electronics firm. He’s a dedicated skier, and has won gold three times at the Paralympics.
He met his wife Jennifer (49) at a reception. She fell in love with him despite his disability and the couple now have two sons, aged 13 and 15.
One day, Michael accompanied Jennifer to her optician as she needed new contact lenses. More as a joke than anything, Michael also had his eyes examined.
But there was an amazing discovery – a new procedure (repairing the retina with stem cells) could be used to cure Michael’s eyes. The complicated operation was a success.
“A torrent of white lights” is how he described the moments directly after the bandages were taken off. Slowly, he began to make out shapes and colours. His heart raced as he began to discern more.
Then came his first view of Jennifer. First he could only make out her pullover: “Oh Heavens, that’s blue.” Then he saw her tender face, her hair. “So that’s what blonde looks like,” he thought. She was just like he had always seen her in his heart, only more beautiful.
He didn’t want to break down and cry because he was frightened of losing the picture.
Michael still has to train his brain to be able to deal with the new flood of images.
He is as happy as ever with Jennifer. Even though he might now and then look at other women on the street!October 16, 2008 at 8:01 pm #66428libby1Participant
I JUST LOVED BOTH OF THOSE STORIES ESPECIALLY ABOUT THE ONE ABOUT THE GIRL WITH DOWN SYNDROME.
I am a big softy…October 27, 2008 at 4:26 pm #66768
‘Foreclosure Angel’ Saves Stranger’s Home
Tracy Pottsboro lost her job and then her home when she couldn’t make mortgage payments. On Saturday, she watched as her home was auctioned off in Dallas.
"The final farewell to my house," Pottsboro said. "It means so much to all of us. It’s not just a house."
Auctions on foreclosed houses are an opportunity for some and agony for those who’ve lost their homes.
From July through September of this year, more than 2,700 Americans lost their homes to foreclosure every day, according to The Associated Press. In Texas, almost 9,200 homes entered the foreclosure process in September.
On Saturday, Pottsboro took her seat among the crowd, waiting for house No. 73 to be called.
Marilyn Mock, a small-business owner from Rockwall, Texas, had accompanied her son, who was interested in buying a house, to the auction that day.
Mock was sitting near Pottsboro and noticed that she was upset.
"She was crying, and I asked her what is she upset about, and you know, she lost her house," Mock said.
When the No. 73 came up and the auction began, Mock said she asked Pottsboro, "Is it worth it?"
"She said yes. … I just kept taking her word," Mock said.
Mock ended up winning the auction, with a bid of about $30,000. And just like that, Pottsboro’s sad goodbye turned into welcome home.
Mock told "Good Morning America" that she will take out a bank loan to finance about half the cost and will let Pottsboro and her family live in the house and make payments to her instead of the bank. She said she will pay for about half the house upfront.
Mock was straightforward about her motive. "People need to help each other, and that’s all there is to it," she said.
Pottsboro was moved to tears by Mock’s random act of generosity. "Nobody’s done anything like that for me before, and I hope that I can repay the favor," she said.
Mock said her son and husband have come to expect these "crazy" things.
"When I came home and I said, ‘Well, honey, guess what?’ He just goes, "OK, whatever.’ He’s used to it," Mock told "GMA."
"I do a lot of things, you know, loan money out and give to somebody — you see somebody in need, you give them money," she said. "Or you see somebody in the grocery store, they don’t have enough money to pay for it, I’m usually the one behind saying here, here’s $20 or something."October 31, 2008 at 9:15 pm #66849
I love you, mum: First words of brain-damaged girl, 6, given power of speech by laser which tracks her eye movements
A severely handicapped little girl who cannot walk or talk has used a machine to tell her mother for the first time: ‘I love you.’
Six-year-old Elke Wisbey, who was born brain-damaged, has been able to communicate with her family by using a high-tech gadget which tracks her eye movements.
The £17,000 MyTobii Smartbox machine from Sweden detects which icons Elke is looking at by using tiny lasers.
When her eyes settle on an icon on the screen of the Smartbox, a pre-programmed voice speaks the word or phrase for her.
Just a few days after setting up the equipment, Elke’s parents, Glynnis and Matt Wisbey, described how their daughter started using her eyes to repeat the words ‘I love you’ over and over again.
Mrs. Wisbey, 43, who also has a son, Galahad, aged nine, said: ‘I thought it was stuck and then I realised what she was saying.
‘She was looking at the "I love you" icon and I couldn’t believe it, she kept doing it.
‘I said to Elke "are you telling Daddy you love him?" and she pointed at the icon "yes".
‘It really choked me up, made me really emotional. I’m still emotional when I think about it.
‘It was quite emotional. It is mind-blowing really. We have gone from somebody not being able to communicate to this.
‘We didn’t think Elke would ever be able to tell us how she was feeling, and now she can. This will be amazing for us, absolutely phenomenal.’
Readers of a local newspaper raised money to buy the specially-adapted machine for the family from Bearsted, Kent.
The Wisbey family are all learning how to help Elke use the machine, but the little girl, who will never be able to walk or talk for herself or feed herself, has mastered it more quickly than any of them.
She has already got to grips with a number of words and phrases and can also play games and browse the internet with it.
Mrs Wisbey said: ‘Elke is an absolute delight to know. She smiles when she recognises people and places and she showers hugs on those she likes best.
‘It’s going to change our lives completely. We’ve been overwhelmed by people’s support, it takes some people years to raise this kind of money and we’ve done it in a summer.’
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