October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month

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DECATUR, Ala. – Ten-year-old Willie Chandler III is just like every other kid his age, except he’s got a little something extra, that X factor, an extra chromosome.

Christine Bolden is Willie’s mother and she says that when she was pregnant she had no idea her son had down syndrome because she never ran any of the tests. But either way, it wouldn’t have mattered.

When Christine and her husband Willie gave birth to their baby boy on December 19, 2008, their lives were filled with love and laughter.

Plus it’s kind of like they have a celebrity in the house.

“Everywhere we go somebody knows him, he’s got, I mean he never meets a stranger his personality is just relaxed and he’s just a jokester he likes to laugh and he likes to make people laugh,” says Bolden.

Even the most popular people need support and a community that understands them. Willie’s family recently found that through a local organization called BUDS which is an acronym for Bringing Up Down Syndrome.

The non-profit organization has been in North Alabama for more than 16 years.  According to their website, they boost almost 400 members!

They primarily fundraise through tax-deductible donations. With the money they provide New Parent Packets, valued at $150, to all families with a child newly diagnosed with Down syndrome.

To get connected with BUDS you can either visit their website or their facebook

“That group is very informative, it’s a lot of people in the group with kids with down syndrome and they always post informational stuff like every day all day so that is really a good group,” says Bolden.

Willie’s parents say their future plans include helping Willie do, whatever he decides he wants to.

Today he said he wants to be a police officer tomorrow that may change but the options for him are endless because his family knows the only difference between ordinary and extraordinary is just that little “extra.”

“They can do everything. They can be anybody they want to be. They can do everything they want to do just like we can. They just do it at their own pace,” says Bolden.