Buddy Walk benefits Down Syndrome Awareness Group this Sunday

Live at Five at 4October 19, 2016Big family embraces its youngest member, who happens to have Down syndrome. Down Syndrome Awareness GroupBuddy WalkSunday1 to 4pmWorld's Fair Parkdsagtn.org

Most of the members of the Rose family still live in East Tennessee. Mom, Dad and nine children - three brothers and six sisters.

"They are nice," Ruthie Rose said of her family.

Ruthie is sweet 16 and the youngest. Her mother, Janie, recalls when she was born.

"I told the nurses right away, 'Bring me everything you have in this hospital about Down syndrome,'" she said.

Down syndrome. It was something new and unfamiliar and even a nurse at the hospital was not encouraging.

"She said she was just so amazed at how we accepted that baby. We didn't say 'Oh no." We said 'Praise God she's here and we love her,'" Janie Rose said.

Mary Arsenault is sibling number five out of the nine children.

"We used to fight over who could hold her next so we would have to set a timer so you got her for 15 minutes or I don't remember how long it was," she said.

Abigail Potter is sibling number seven.

"I helped her learn her ABCs and we did a little bit of sign language," she said.

"So she was different than what I expected. It took some adjusting but I came to realize that she is a lot more normal than she is different. She can still go shopping and she loves clothes and loves makeup and can do all the things that I wanted to do with my baby sister," Mary said.

Baby sister is growing up. She is into pop music and loves to sing songs by Taylor Swift and Katy Perry.

Holly Walden is sibling number four out of nine.

"You say 'Who is your favorite sister?' and whoever is standing close to her that's who her favorite sister is. And so a lot of times when that's going on the girls would kind of scoot in and get in front of each other so that we can be her favorite sister. But I'm your favorite sister, right Ruthie? Yeah, I thought so," Holly said.

Janie said, "They just love her. It's not hard to do though."

They have some advice for children welcoming a sibling with Down syndrome.

"Be honest about your feelings and it's ok to be a little scared or a little nervous but just to know they're really more like you than they are different," Mary said.

And they have some advice for others encountering someone with Down syndrome.

"You don't need to day something special. Just introduce yourself. Ask them what their name is. And they'll appreciate it a lot," Holly said.

Ruthie appreciates growing up in a big family.

"It was awesome," she said.

Holly said, "She just brings so much more not only to our family but to everyone she meets."

Mary agreed. "She's a true lover. She really shows what true love is like ... She just has a very pure heart. She doesn't see fault in people," she said. 

"She has been the most amazing blessing in this family," Abigail said.

This Sunday, Oct. 23, Ruthie will be at World's Fair Park from 1 to 4 p.m. for Buddy Walk. It's a celebration of people with Down syndrome and a fundraiser for the Down Syndrome Awareness Group.

(© 2016 WBIR)


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