Down syndrome is a chromosomal condition that affects people on a continuum, ranging from severe to mild. Meaning that not every individual with down syndrome is going to be the same. What I think is interesting is that we lump them all together, and don't look at them as an individual.

In today's society, people like to look at kids or others with down syndrome and label them as weird or different. There is a stigma surrounding the down syndrome community. They think that these individuals have a harder life or don't have a good quality of life. It's like they almost feel sorry for the individuals with down syndrome. After being involved with individuals with down syndrome ever since my cousin was born, I can assure you everything you think that you know is about to change.

I have learned many things from my cousin that I probably would have never been exposed to if it was not for him coming into all of my family's lives.

Something that always amazes me is his not only his ability but his capability to love. Ever since he was born, my life has been filled with nothing but laughs and love. It is not always sunshine and rainbows, there are a fair share of tough days. But he always brightens my darkest days. He taught me to love everyone you come by, no matter your differences.

When I was in high school I ran an event that involved kids with down syndrome cheering on the sidelines during that game and I do not think felt so much love and happiness in one place all at one time.

But every time I see my cousin I am greeted to him running into my arms (sometimes in tears), and always the biggest hug. And then I always have an invitation to sleep over. He is someone who loves to cheer on the football team and makes sure that no dog ever goes hungry since he makes sure they always have food. This kid loves to dance and sing. I cannot leave out, he loves to host family feud alongside Steve Harvey.

Some people might say that caring for individuals with down syndrome is an inconvenience or a burden, but, it is everything but that. You learn to live your life differently and with so much more happiness and laughter than you did before. I am forever and eternally grateful that he came into my life.