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One More Chromosome

By Pete Boryla

Did you know that having one extra chromosome can change everything about you? That single chromosome is the difference between society considering you able-bodied or disabled. Down syndrome—or Trisomy 21—is a condition in which someone has one more chromosome on the 21st pair. This disability can affect brain development, physical features, speech, and more.

My brother Ryan has Down syndrome, and he has been a huge blessing in my life, though it saddens me when people don’t view him through the same lens as they view me.

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I remember the night before Ryan’s freshman year of high school. He sat calmly on the floor in front of the TV dealing various decks of cards, while I paced the unfinished basement with racing thoughts. Ryan was going to the same high school that I just graduated from. I had a decent number of friends who would be seniors and who could look out for him, but how would the younger classmen treat him? Would he get along with others? Would he be lonely? 

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