Though the world in general has made large strides towards recognizing that people with Down syndrome are no different to the rest of us, the condition does still present its challenges.
There remain far too many people who look down in people with Down syndrome, thinking them unable to do every day things such as holding down jobs and graduating from college.
Of course, living with Down syndrome makes certain things different, but people who have the condition just want to be treated like everyone else.
One man who knows more than most about this is 77-year-old Kenny Cridge, who has entered the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s oldest man with Down syndrome.
Let no one tell you Kenny Cridge isn’t a fighter. He was born alongside a twin sister, Dorothy, back in 1939, but was initially believed to be stillborn. Doctors left him to the side while they tended to Dorothy, only for little Kenny to cry out and get their attention.
After his birth, Kenny was given a life expectancy of just 12 years. Knowledge on Down syndrome was far from well established back in 1939, and those who lived with the condition weren’t treated as they are today.
Even so, Kenny has managed to live a life that far exceeded anyone’s expectations. He outlived his sister, who died several years ago, and, back in 2008, he entered the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest living man on record with Down syndrome.
These days, the 77-year-old lives in a care home, one where he can receive all the support he needs while still living life to its fullest extent. His qualified caregivers were all on hand recently, along with other members of his family, to give him a 77th birthday to remember, complete with balloons and gifts.
Kenny’s favorite things to do are play the harmonica, joke with friends, and enjoy sweet things. Ann Nicholson, manager of the care home where he lives in Somerset, England, says he’s very popular with the staff.
“Kenny can brighten anyone’s day with his smile and his laughter,” Ann said.
Happy Birthday, Kenny, and many happy returns.
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