A Girl With Down Syndrome Brings Her Positivity To The Ground By Becoming A Wonderful Cheerleader

The best society is the one where everyone feels worthy. Are we in the process of developing such a society? We have come a long way. As a society, we are much more open-minded now than we were in the early 20th century. We try to give voice and opportunities to people of all genders, races, and those with different abilities. We are trying our best to develop an inclusive society. And we are in it together. As a human race, each one of us is participating in this process to develop a wonderful society where everyone feels like they are worth it.

As we put in our efforts in making the world more open and accessible for all, we love to hear success stories that put a smile on our face and make our efforts worth it. The story of 16-year-old Kenzie Zacharias is just the kind of story to lift up our moods. This little girl from Clarkton, Michigan was born with Down syndrome. Down syndrome is a genetic disorder which may result in mild or moderate intellectual disability and certain characteristic facial features. Since it is a natural occurrence, Down syndrome cannot be referred to as a disorder or disease and it does not require treatment or cure. However, what one can do is intervene early and use motor or speech therapy to help people with Down syndrome manage their life.

While normal life is expected and could be achieved, society as a whole has a way to discriminate and differentiate individuals who are ‘different’. As a result, a person with Down syndrome has always been treated as an ‘other’ and kept separated. They were considered ‘abnormal’. When Kenzie was born, her mother, Kelly Zacharias, was especially afraid of this. She did not know that her daughter had Down syndrome at first. But when she came to realize it, she was shattered. She went to mourning for a day. She was not feeling bad for her daughter with Down syndrome. She was actually visualizing what her daughter would go through when she grew up and entered the world of ‘normal’ people. As a mother, she could already feel her future pain and it was too much to take. If only we could have accepted people with Down syndrome as one of us!

Well, Kenzie’s mother was in for a surprise!

Joe, Kenzie’s father, worked for the varsity football team as a water manager. To spend quality father-daughter time, he would take his daughter to his workplace and let her assist him. She loved to help her father but often, she would sit and observe something else. Her eyes would be stuck on the cheerleaders. Their vibrant dance moves, their cheering – every action they did would have a wonderful effect on Kenzie. And before she knew it, her hands and feet were moving in the same way as that of the cheerleaders. In her mind, she was already a cheerleader for the varsity football team.

Kenzie was proud of what she was doing and she didn’t need to hide it. And thank God, she didn’t. A cheerleader, Becca Winkler, spotted Kenzie imitating the group’s action. She was delighted that the cheerleading team could bring such joy in someone like Kenzie. She went up to her and asked her if she would like to join them. A bit of encouragement and soon Kenzie was part of the cheerleading team, cheering for the school team every Friday!

She is like a little ball of enthusiasm and positivity. Kenzie does everything that the cheerleading team does, except the risky stunts. But she stands out because of one characteristic – her kindness. Whenever she comes down to the school for practice, she makes it a point to greet someone with a ‘Hi’. She even goes out of her way and hugs people just to transfer a bit of her positivity to them. The best part is that even if they are on an away game – she would end up hugging strangers too. Imagine the joy that she can bring into the life of others!

For Kenzie, cheerleading is an amazing experience. She loves every bit of it. She loves her friends, the community, and all the people around her. She can be mostly seen with her favorite varsity jacket which she keeps with the wardrobe of her cheerleader friends. She has even been dubbed as ‘Athlete of the Week’. After getting the title, she is just ecstatic.

And what about Kelly, her mom? Her dream has come true. Her daughter has found her path and she is loving her current job. She is accepted by everyone. People all around her love her and share her warmth. It’s like every mother’s dream – seeing their children grow in a community that respects them and loves them. Even Kenzie’s sister, Maddie, is proud of her. It’s amazing how far Kenzie has come.

Kenzie is a testament of how an accepting society can bring warmth for both the person being accepted and for us as a whole. And these are especially the kind of stories that push us as a human community to become more accepting of others. In the recent past, the story of Chelsea Werner, the successful gymnast with Down syndrome stole our hearts too. She had participated in the Special Olympics United States National Championship and had won it twice! Her physicians recommended gymnastics to her as a way to improve her flexibility but she made it her life.

But that’s not all. Chelsea even went further and took an unlikely path: modeling. It was a risky move and she was rejected a couple of times but she did not give up. Eventually, she landed a deal and now, she’s following her second dream.

The stories of Kenzie and Chelsea are not only heartwarming, but they show what people are capable of if they are just given the opportunity. So, let’s be the motivator – let’s not discriminate against people different than us. We need to grow as a community. We have come a long way – we need to walk a few steps more!

https://www.theepochtimes.com/girl-with-down-syndrome-becomes-cheerleader-wows-crowd-with-her-positive-attitude_2847240.html?fbclid=IwAR1RSRLq80mLHS16M4e7D640ZZWjjXTdEdrmVKva3VkbLM5cPK2ZYZ87bqM