Jad Issa has Down syndrome, but his life isn’t what you might expect. Just ask his wife (who doesn’t have Down syndrome)—or his son, who is studying to be a dentist.
Jad’s story recently made headlines when his son Sader spoke about his father in a video published on Facebook, which led to a series of stories and interviews about this remarkable family (including an article in our Italian edition, which inspired me to write this).
A loving father and a responsible provider
Sader—a strapping young man who enjoys swimming, bodybuilding, studying, and spending time with his friends—lives with his parents in Syria. He’s proud of his father; in the video, he says that even if he could, he’d never want to pick someone else to be his father. “I’m proud of him, the same way he is proud of me,” he says. This feeling is well-founded; Jad is the family’s main breadwinner, and despite the difficulties of his condition, he “tried to do everything to secure a normal life for [me] like any other child,” Sader says. “During my studies, he was the biggest supporter economically, psychologically, and in all respects.”
As Sader explains in the video, the pride is mutual: “One of the things that I am proud of is when he introduces me to a new person for the first time, and he says, ‘My son is a doctor.’ You can see the pride and joy in his eyes. It’s like he’s saying: ‘I have Down syndrome, but I raised my son and did everything to help him become a doctor who treats people. I’m proud of him …’”