2009 Ambassador Chase Turner Perry
My name is Chase Turner Perry. I am three years old and I live in Colorado with my mama, dada and little brother Cooper. I have heard my parents tell the story of the day I was born many times. I was a big surprise. My parents did not know I was a boy and they did not know I had an extra chromosome. When the doctor told my parents I had Down syndrome my parents were very confused and sad — they thought this meant I was “retarded.” Now they tell me that the word retarded is not a nice word and not a word that should be used for people with Down syndrome. I simply have an extra 21st chromosome, which just makes more of me to love. And I do feel loved! My parents take such good care of me and when I was a little baby they brought me to fabulous doctors from all over to learn more about my extra chromosome and to make sure I was healthy. During my first visit to The Children’s Hospital I had to stay overnight. The doctors realized that something was wrong and had me take lots of tests — heart, lungs, stomach, everything! It turns out I needed more oxygen and they gave me a tiny oxygen tank that helped me sleep and allowed my brain to grow so smart. When I go to the hospital I am a brave boy!
Three weeks after my new baby brother, Cooper, was born I was hospitalized with pancreatitis. Although I felt pretty bad, I was happy to get so much attention (just because Cooper was newer doesn’t make him more interesting after all). I am excited that there is now the Sie Center for Down Syndrome at The Children’s Hospital since that means I will be getting even better care.
I am a busy little boy! I love to explore outside, play in the sandbox, go to school with my friends and spend time with my family. My most favorite thing is reading my books! It may surprise you to know I have been able to read since I was 15 months old. It surprised my mama and dada, my teachers, and speech language pathologists from everywhere! I don’t mean to brag, but at three years old I can read at a second grade level and I am working on becoming a spelling bee champion. Did you know kids with Down syndrome can be gifted readers? Words are so fun – the sounds they make, their meanings and the stories they tell. I share my gift with my friends at school and read to them during story time. In turn, my friends teach me how to use the teeter totter and eat with utensils. I know that we can all learn from one another!
I am happy and proud to tell you my story. My parents and my family are also very proud of me. I hope that you will take the time to know and love me too. My mama and dada tell me the sky is the limit, and it is, especially with your support. Please help me and my family to advocate for so many beautiful and brilliant children with Down syndrome who are so neglected and underestimated. Together we will make a huge, positive difference. My name is Chase. And this is my story. So far…