The thing about life is that it’s unpredictable. You never quite know what’s around the corner, and surprises can take many different forms.
For parents, Julie and Dan McConnel, one of those surprises came in the form of their twins Milo and Charlie. The boys were born with Down’s syndrome, a condition which generally presents a number of unique challenges for parents.And yet for Julie and Dan, Milo and Charlie have been two bright rays of sunshine. Indeed, their influence is now spreading around the world via the internet, and for the best reason.
Many children born with Down’s syndrome have trouble learning the way other kids do, and can suffer from a whole host of physical afflictions too. In short, having Down’s syndrome is no walk in the park.
Julie and Dan McConnel, however, are on a mission to show the world the positivity their twin boys bring with them. Their aim is to rub out the stigma attached to Down’s syndrome, and they’re using the mighty influence of social media to facilitate it.
“My hope is to attract families that are receiving a diagnosis of Down syndrome for their child because that can be really scary. I hope that people will find us, and see that this is what life can be like,” Julie told WTSP 10 News.
“It can be fun, it’s full of love, it’s not scary. We have no regrets, and there is so much joy in our lives, and I hope that people will see that.”
The McDonnel family want to establish a community wherein parents who don’t know much about Down’s syndrome can be educated and made aware of the hidden joys a diagnosis can hold.
“It takes them a little longer to meet milestones, but when they meet goals we celebrate like no other parents alive,” she said. “We throw a party and we’re so excited for them when they accomplish those things.”
Charlie and Milo are exceptionally rare in that they are fraternal twins with Down’s syndrome – they’re thought to be a 1-in-14 million case.
“It’s big to show everyone else that we are here, and there are all these kids in our community, and we hope that they will see us and remember us and that things will continue to change in our communities with lots of acceptance,” Dan said.