HomeoldRemembering Dr. Jerome Lejeune: “Truly, a voice for the Voiceless”

Remembering Dr. Jerome Lejeune: “Truly, a voice for the Voiceless”

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Editor’s note. This latest post from a year ago came from David G. Lejeune, the President of the Jerome Lejeune Foundation USA. The date was April 3, 2020.

Today marks the anniversary of Dr. Jerome Lejeune’s passing 26 years ago. The namesake of the Jerome Lejeune Foundation, Dr. Lejeune was a French geneticist who discovered the cause of Down syndrome in 1958 – a third chromosome on the 21st set of genes.

As I pause today to remember Dr. Lejeune, I’d like to take a moment to share about his life and legacy. I also ask that you keep his wife Birthe, who is a dear friend of mine, in your prayers as she battles a serious illness. [Editor’s note. Mrs. Lejeune passed away May 6, 2020.]

Dr. Lejeune wasn’t just distinguished by his extraordinary medical discoveries – he also catalyzed a seismic shift in societal attitudes about Down syndrome. Before his discovery, many people believed that Down syndrome was the fault of the parents. Having a child with Down syndrome was considered shameful, and most people with Down syndrome were institutionalized and failed to receive the medical care they needed.

Dr. Lejeune was an outspoken advocate for these individuals, both inside and outside the womb. His scientific discoveries made it unequivocally evident to him that “life has a very long history, but each of us has a very definite beginning – the moment of conception.” He truly was a voice for the voiceless!

During his lifetime, thousands of families from around the world came to him for help. He affirmed parents’ love for their children with Down syndrome and demonstrated that he truly cared for each of “these dear little ones.” He authentically lived out his favorite saying, which is near and dear to my heart: “Every patient is my brother.”

In the annals of medical history, few names shine as brightly as that of Dr. Jerome Lejeune. Renowned for his groundbreaking discoveries in the field of genetics, Dr. Lejeune’s legacy extends far beyond the confines of the laboratory. He was not merely a scientist; he was a passionate advocate for the voiceless, a tireless champion for the rights and dignity of every human life.

Born in France in 1926, Dr. Lejeune’s journey to prominence was marked by a relentless pursuit of knowledge and a deep-seated commitment to his principles. Trained as a physician and geneticist, he dedicated his career to unraveling the mysteries of the human genome, pioneering groundbreaking research that laid the foundation for our understanding of genetic disorders.

However, it was Dr. Lejeune’s unwavering advocacy on behalf of individuals with Down syndrome that truly set him apart as a visionary and a humanitarian. In the 1950s, at a time when society often marginalized and overlooked individuals with intellectual disabilities, Dr. Lejeune emerged as a leading voice for their rights and dignity.

His groundbreaking discovery of the genetic cause of Down syndrome not only revolutionized our understanding of the condition but also paved the way for advancements in diagnosis, treatment, and support for individuals with Down syndrome and their families. Through his pioneering research, Dr. Lejeune shattered misconceptions and stereotypes, challenging society to embrace and celebrate the inherent worth and dignity of every human life, regardless of ability or circumstance.

In addition to his scientific contributions, Dr. Lejeune was a vocal advocate for the protection of unborn children, speaking out against the scourge of abortion and tirelessly defending the rights of the most vulnerable members of society. He viewed every life, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant, as precious and worthy of protection, and he dedicated himself to the cause of building a culture of life that cherishes and safeguards the sanctity of human life from conception to natural death.

Dr. Lejeune’s advocacy extended beyond the laboratory and the lecture hall; it was a deeply personal and deeply held conviction that animated every aspect of his life and work. He was not content to simply observe the injustices of the world from a distance; he felt compelled to confront them head-on, to speak truth to power, and to defend the defenseless with unwavering courage and compassion.

Today, as we reflect on Dr. Lejeune’s legacy, we are reminded of the profound impact that one individual can have on the world when they dedicate themselves to a noble cause greater than themselves. Dr. Lejeune’s life serves as a testament to the power of knowledge, compassion, and moral conviction to effect positive change in the world.

As we honor his memory, let us recommit ourselves to the principles for which he stood: respect for the dignity and sanctity of every human life, solidarity with the marginalized and vulnerable, and a relentless pursuit of justice and truth. In doing so, we can ensure that Dr. Lejeune’s legacy lives on, inspiring future generations to continue the fight for a world where every life is valued, cherished, and protected.


Chelsea Garcia is a political writer with a special interest in international relations and social issues. Events surrounding the war in Ukraine and the war in Israel are a major focus for political journalists. But as a former local reporter, she is also interested in national politics.

Chelsea Garcia studied media, communication and political science in Texas, USA, and learned the journalistic trade during an internship at a daily newspaper. In addition to her political writing, she is pursuing a master's degree in multimedia and writing at Texas.

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