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His sister has Down syndrome and when he married, he did something beautiful

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rodzeństwo z zespołem Downa

@chrisgarafola | Instagram

Anna Gębalska-Berekets - published on 01/16/23

"She's been my best friend since day one. I don't know how I got this lucky having Brittany as my sister," he told People.

Childhood siblings quarrel over many things, take each other’s toys, and fight for their parents’ attention. At the same time, they love each other so much that one would jump into the fire for the other. Some say that the most beautiful thing about this love is that it’s so unconditional.

As children, Chris and Brittany were inseparable. Brittany, the older of the two, was born with Down syndrome. She has always tried to be as independent as possible and to achieve success like her brother. Chris is a model and has worked with brands such as New Balance and Puma.

In an Instagram media post, he wrote that Brittany “always poured her love onto him, challenged him, and taught him timeless lessons—giving him countless opportunities to grow (quickly) as a man, and become the best BROTHER he could possibly be.”

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Chris Garafola (@chrisgarafola)

When Chris met the love of his life, he immediately told his sister about her. Eventually, he proposed to his girlfriend, and the young couple began planning their wedding and reception. They knew that Brittany had to play an important role in the ceremony.

People reporter Jason Duaine Hahn reports that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the bride and groom held off on preparations for the ceremony. They wanted his sister to accompany them on their special day, but Brittany has a very sensitive immune system and the family feared for her health. Her safety was a priority for the young couple, even if they only planned to hold the ceremony with their closest family and friends.

“Can you be my bridesmaid?”

In 2021, after Brittany was vaccinated and the situation seemed under control, the young couple decided to start preparing for their big day.

Chris posted a video in which he and his fiancée, Tatiana, can be seen talking by video chat with Brittany. The older sister was overjoyed by the news that her younger brother was going to get married, but what Tatiana asked next made her even happier.

“You know what I want to ask you? Can you be my maid of honor?” Tatiana asks. “Yes, I can!” replies Brittany, visibly overcome with joy.

The website AmoMama reports that the newlyweds surprised the maid of honor with a unique gift as a token of their gratitude: they gave her a beautiful ring.

“She’s been my best friend since day one and even once I’m married, it won’t change,” Chris told People. “Seeing how excited and moved she got, reinforced how much she truly loves us. I don’t know how I got this lucky having Brittany as my sister – I just love her so much,” he continued.

The brother and sister are happy to have each other. “For me, my purpose here is to make sure my sister has a good life, is protected and is healthy. Her happiness is my happiness,” Chris told Hahn.

A supermodel        

The wedding ceremony wasn’t the only time Chris has shown how important a person Brittany is in his life.

A few years ago, he organized a photo shoot for her as a birthday present, as People reporter Hahn reported in an earlier article. This was a dream for her, because she had always wanted to be like her brother; if he had a new phone, she also wanted one too, the article says. Similarly, when he left for college, his sister also wanted to become independent and moved out of the family home (she joined the Heartbeet Lifesharing community, which brings together adults with disabilities).

So, thanks to a surprise prepared by her brother, Brittany – beautifully made up and styled – posed in front of the camera. “She was a supermodel and she knew it, it was her day to be a real professional model,” Garafola told Hahn. “She did a lot better than many of the models that I’ve worked with, I was very impressed.”

“I want people to question what they think is beautiful, and realize that everybody should have the same opportunities in this life no matter where they’re born or what they’re born with,” he told the People reporter.

Chris admits that he owes a lot to his sister.

“I am who I am today entirely because of my sister. It’s because of my sister that I don’t take life’s little blessings for granted,” Chris told Daily Mail reporter Valerie Siebert. “Brittany has shown me everything from feeling beautiful and confident in my own skin, to how to love unconditionally.”

In a post on Instagram for World Down Syndrome Day, the model shared an important message: 

Beauty comes in many different forms. Love is beauty. Confidence is beauty. Charisma and character are beauty. To me, my sister Brittany is the epitome of beauty. So many people feel bad for people with special needs, like my sister who has Down syndrome, because they think they are ‘suffering.’ It’s usually quite the opposite. I’m the one who is suffering. We are the ones who are suffering. All my sister knows is unconditional love and light. Every day, I try to be a better man and more like my sister — regardless of what society thinks of me as a ‘successful’ model who has it all figured out.

And don’t miss her reaction when she learned that her brother and his wife were going to have a child, and she would be an aunt:

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Tags:
DisabilitiesDown SyndromeWeddings
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