By Dave Andrusko
Editor’s note. October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month. As an acknowledgement of the importance of this, we are running for the most part new stories. However, as today, we occasionally dip back into the past to repost a previously run stories, particularly those that share some very, very important truths. This ran awhile back in National Right to Life News. I re-run it periodically because as the ghastly 1982 death of “Infant Doe” fades with the passage of time, we need to be reminded of what can happen.
I’m no musicologist, but, like you, I know the power of music to speak to the heart, soul, and spirit. “Danny’s Downs” (sung by Michael Kelly Blanchard) brings a tear to my eye every time I play this song. The song was inspired by the unspeakably sad, wholly unnecessary death of “Infant Doe” in Indiana.
One of the worse weeks of my life were those six days in l982. A baby boy, born with Down syndrome and an esophageal blockage which made it impossible for him to swallow, was neither fed nor had the blockage repaired.
In “Danny’s Downs,” the parents are confronted with the same temptation to “send him back where he came.” They overcome their weakness, thanks to an old Jamaican cleaning woman whose encouragement allows the parents to overcome the “death” of their dream of a “perfect baby.”
I absolutely love that song, which is etched into my heart.
I remember like it was yesterday, the first time I heard “Danny’s Downs” played.
An old friend of mine happened to be sitting at the same table. A woman who combines relentless energy and determination with a kind of pseudo-world-weariness, she bawled like a baby.
We all did.