My Niece Kathleen

She feels the love and she gives us love in return

By Steven Chavez
Published on LatinoLA: December 10, 2005

My Niece Kathleen

Thank you, Maria, for sharing the account of your friend, Liz, at http://www.latinola.com/story.php?story=3017 and my appreciation to Amigos de LatinoLA for a response to this story. I assume that Liz was born with Down's Syndrome or other health challenge(s). Our society, including our children, must be sensitive and patient with fellow humans, who have health challenges (disabilities) and be ever so ready to give from the heart. Actually, we do a fair job here.

I have traveled around the world a few times and can testify that American society leads the world in caring for our disabled. More is needed in senior care and our military wounded, but in large, we are number one. I have visited many Orphanage Homes in Asia and the Pacific Islands, full of disabled children. I have been asked by many people abroad, ?Why does America have have Disabled Access bathroom, street curbs, and telephone booths? Why does American television show a person using Sign Language? Why do the cars pull over at the sound of an ambulance siren? Is it a law? Well, I tell them, "Yes it is, and that's the way we do it here?.

Can we do more? Yes, we can and the reward is great.

I have a niece who was born with health complications. It left us wondering, why this? Will this child be happy or sad? Will she succumb to the health challenges prematurely?

Kathleen was born on Christmas Eve. Having heart surgery on day 2, she was given little hope by the medical staff. She braved 5 days in ICU at Children's Hospital in Los Angeles, CA. and stabalized on New Year's Day. We brought her home.

We have enjoyed life and happiness with my niece, Kathleen, for twenty-two years now
Kathleen was born with Down's Syndrome, profound deafness, and blindness in one eye. A very difficult challenge to K, parents, and family but, God has blessed us.

A major challenge to Kathleen but God has given her the sense and love to endure. It was difficult for her, in the early years, to realize her self-awareness and basic communication skills. A difficult task to understand human emotions; children things; girl things; but, by God?s hand, she has overcome.

Kathleen loves music (she can feel the beat); she can communicates with us (she has limited American Sign skills); and she loves to dance with the boys (she knows the difference). She laughs and cries. She feels the love and she gives us love in return.

She has made the difficult future into a wonderful lifetime. Our family has experienced life at its basic best. Her ever presence has made my life more meaningful, complete, and overall much better. I sometimes feel down while doing my routine assignments, then take a view at Kathleen's challenges and think "I have nothing to complain about and should be thankful instead." It is an inspiration and check.

I am with her and will never abandon her. I thank God for Kathleen and pray that all of you can have this same opportunity. Thank you.

About Steven Chavez:
Steven Chavez is an occasional writer to LatinoLA.com. He is working with Frankie Firme, and others, in producing a "Fun"d Raiser event for LatinoLA in 2006. Any supporters or sponsors for such event, please contact us at stevenchavez68@hotmail.com.

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