Support Down Syndrome

Our parents were especially grateful for the support from other Down syndrome families as more and more families were keeping their Down syndrome children at home. Notable in our family’s story was the surprise visit Mother received from Dale Evans while Donny and Mother were still in the hospital. Dale Evans and Roy Rogers had a beloved daughter, Robin, who was born with Down syndrome. She was only born about four years before Donny, but that was unfortunately before many of the medical miracles that kept Donny alive for 53 years. Ms. Evans wrote and published a charming book “Angel Unaware,” told in Robin’s voice, about her life on earth (she lived approximately four years) and later in heaven. The book is still available through 

At the time of Donny’s birth, there was very little public education available for Down’s syndrome children, and our family relied on contacts with a few private schools and other parents for support. Today, there are classes for Down syndrome children in most public and many private schools, and many of these children are mainstreamed (with school-provided support) into regular classes. My daughter-in-law has taught special classes for autistic and Down syndrome children for years, and frequently describes her favorite teaching experiences – many of which involve Down syndrome children.

Learn more about how to support the Down Syndrome community:

I chose to donate part of the proceeds from the Grandma Gang books to the Special Olympics, an organization my family supported while our Donny was growing up. In June 1973, Donny was selected by the Long Beach Special Olympics organization to light the torch to begin the Long Beach games. A newspaper photograph is included in the book, along with a photo of Donny doing an admirable job in the Broad Jump at the 1973 games. The framed photograph of Donny lighting the torch is still hanging in my sister Mary’s house – a prized piece of our family’s history.

In addition to the Special Olympics, there are many organizations to learn more about Down syndrome, of few of which are: