There’s a great family story behind ‘Kelly and the Great Pinewood Derby,’ as well as a message for today’s culture.
Those around my grandparents constantly questioned their decision to keep Kelly. It was the 50’s, and most children with Down syndrome were sent away to institutions. The doctors explained Kelly would be in a vegetative state, but to everyone’s surprise he flourished as he mimicked his sibling’ movements, speech and social behavior.Kelly was brought into this world to show love, kindness and share his contagious smile … He brought fun and excitement to our entire family and made a huge impact on my life. He was joyful, curious, loving, and affectionate. Many things brought him happiness, especially, hamburgers, “I Love Lucy” reruns, game shows, dancing and family. His favorite restaurant quickly learned that he liked to say, “Hacky Birfday!,” which was Kelly’s way of reflecting a good time. The staff would then sing “Happy Birthday!” and bring him ice cream on every visit. He especially loved teasing his siblings and was quite the comedian.
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