Most people are aware that there can be difficulties associated with Down Syndrome, but few people can actually relate. What’s hidden beneath the surface of Down Syndrome is becoming more evident as the world evolves and more information is discovered. Every person in this world is uniquely different, and we all go through our own experiences that make us who we are. People with Down Syndrome are no different, as they are given their own personalities that define them. The quirks and flaws associated with Down Syndrome are mere personality traits that we learn to deal with and love.
This is particularly true for Justine Hall, who was born with Down Syndrome and gradually became blind throughout the years. For Kerrie Blackwell, her 50-year-old sister, it has definitely been a difficult ride, but one that she would not change for the world. “Even though Justine has lived with my mum her whole life, I grew up with her and I visit her all the time.” Kerrie spoke of her younger sister with fondness and often reminisced about the good times that they had shared. “Of course, there have been difficult times, but they were nothing we couldn’t get through,” Kerrie admitted. “Taking her to the hospital would have to be the hardest. She doesn’t like going to unfamiliar places because she can’t see. You can only imagine how scary that must be.”
When asked if she knew anyone else with Down Syndrome, and how these people differ to Justine, Kerrie thought carefully. “I have met others, although I don’t know them very well. The one thing I do notice is that some of them are quite sociable and outgoing compared to Justine, but all of the people that I know aren’t blind. I think Justine’s lack of sight makes her disability even more severe.”
From observing Justine in her home, it is evident that she brings laughter to a lot of people. Her mother, Judy, is the perfect advocate for this. “She turns all of the lights off, because she thinks that if she can’t see, we shouldn’t be able to either!” Judy revealed, after scolding her daughter for switching off the kitchen lights in the middle of dinner. Justine merely retorted with a cheeky “Can’t see, can’t see!”and returned to her armchair.
“We’re blessed to have her. She wouldn’t be my sister if she were any different,” Kerrie concluded with a smile. “It’s only an extra Chromosome, and that Chromosome is beautiful.”
Click here to see a photograph album of Justine.
Visit the official Down Syndrome website if you have any questions about Down Syndrome, or if you wish to make a donation to this worthy cause.