Celebrating my Brother

octubre 20, 2010

Jenni Newbury has seen firsthand the transformative power of Special Olympics. Having recently joined the staff, Jenni told us about her brother’s involvement and how she strives to create new ways for Jason to be included.  We wanted to share their story with you.

300x200 Jenni and Jason Newbury

Siblings Jason and Jenni Newbury. Donate and help us reach more athletes like Jason.

I don’t remember life before Jason was born. I imagine I enjoyed my two years as an only child, but I simply have no recollection of life without him. The memories I do have include pulling Jason  across our tile floor to hear him giggle, sitting together on the couch as we went on an imaginary trip with my dolls, and running along side him the very first time he rode a two-wheeled bicycle. There are other memories as well: visiting doctors' offices, watching therapists come in and out of our house, and constantly translating Jason’s developing speech to others. The memories meld together, not one more specific than another, not one less “normal” than another.

The first time I remember defining Down Syndrome was when my parents and I gave a presentation to Jason’s fourth grade class. We knew his peers were asking questions and felt if we could explain some details, they would be more accepting as they got older. They were, at times – but not always. As a sister I defended my brother when others took advantage of him or teased him. Many times Jason didn’t even notice, but I felt it was my responsibility to guard his dignity.

For many who have never met someone with Down Syndrome, it might be difficult to imagine how much can be gained from someone with a disability, someone who – by society’s standards – is lacking. People with Down Syndrome are burdened by many stereotypes - most degrading, if not offensive.  None of them come to mind when I think of Jason. Through Jason, I have learned what it means to be strong, courageous, sincere, and honest. Jason has shown me how to forgive others, how to experience joy in the smallest of moments, and how to love radically.

As we grew up, I worked to create new ways for Jason to be included - founding a club to host social opportunities for students with and without disabilities in high school, Camp PALS, a sleep away camp for young adults with Down Syndrome, and in college an annual conference for children with Down Syndrome, their siblings and families.  After graduating, I found a new home working for Special Olympics. Our mission challenges and inspires me every day, but the real honor is working for an organization that has directly enhanced Jason’s life.

My brother has been a Special Olympics athlete since he was very young. He currently competes in floor hockey and basketball, and just returned from the 2010 Special Olympics National Games with a bronze medal in soccer. Jason is also training in Special Olympics tennis and volleyball, and has weekly weight training sessions.

Beyond sport, Special Olympics has taught Jason about advocacy. After learning about the Spread the Word to End the Word campaign, Jason wanted to take a stand. The more involved we got in Special Olympics, the more Jason developed a voice. All of a sudden there were people who listened, who asked for his insight, and who actively pursued friendships. Through this simple acceptance, these acts of inclusion and demonstrations of value for another person, Special Olympics transformed Jason’s world and empowered him to begin reaching his full potential.

As a sibling of someone with Down Syndrome, I am frequently asked: Would you change it if you could? If you could separate Jason from his diagnosis of Down Syndrome, would you take away the disability?

Looking back, I consider the many ways I’ve worked to make Jason included, to have people see his value. I’ve never once considered changing Jason - I try to give others new experiences, transform their misconceptions and re-direct their expectations. If I am eliminating a disability, the disability is not in Jason – it’s in the world.

For every athlete like Jason Newbury, there are many more waiting for their chance.  Donate to Special Olympics and help us reach out to one more person who wants to participate in sports and reach their full potential.


Your Donation Matters

Special Olympics transforms athletes’ lives through the joy of sport. Help us make a difference.

DONATE TODAY»

Volunteer Near You

Volunteering with Special Olympics is fun and very rewarding, for both the athlete and the volunteer!

LEARN MORE»

Follow Us

Ayúdenos a encontrar un atleta más

Donar »

Buscar eventos locales y obtener información sobre oportunidades para voluntarios en una de nuestras 220 oficinas en todo el mundo.

BUSCAR UNA LOCALIDAD PRÓXIMA »

Our Supporters

AVSC RecordThe most successful benefit recording in musical history.Learn More »


Our Supporters

Annenberg FoundationSupports our goals for coaches’ excellence.Learn More »


Our Supporters

Bank of AmericaSupports Special Olympics Team USA.Learn More »


Our Supporters

Coca-ColaOfficial global partner of Special Olympics.
Learn More »


Our Supporters

ESPNWorldwide support for Unified Sports.Learn More »


Our Supporters

EssilorOfficial global supplier of ophthalmic lenses.Learn More »


Our Supporters

Health One GlobalGlobal health data technology partner.Learn More »


Our Supporters

Hear the WorldSupplies hearing aids to our athletes.Learn More »


Our Supporters

AIPSGlobal Impact Partner for Special Olympics.Learn More »


Our Supporters

Lions ClubSupports access to quality eye care.Learn More »


Our Supporters

MattelSupports various youth programs.Learn More »


Our Supporters

Procter & GambleProvides marketing campaigns that support our athletes.Learn More »


Our Supporters

SafewayRaises funds and awareness for people with disabilities.Learn More »


Our Supporters

SàfiloSupplies optical frames and sunglasses.Learn More »


Our Supporters

UNICEFProvides greater inclusion of children with disabilities.Learn More »


Our Supporters

MTM RecognitionSupplier of awards and medals for our athletes.Learn More »


Our Supporters

Perfect Sense DigitalSpecial Olympics' leading digital partner.Learn More »


Our Supporters

Y&RPowering our global youth marketing campaign.Learn more »


Special Olympics Blog

A Powerful Prescription

"Physical activity is the closest thing we have to a wonder drug."read more »

Posted on 2014-05-06 by Healthy Athletes

go to blog »


*

Special Olympics - Become a Fan