Today’s guest is another former student. Ryan is currently a junior at Loyola University Chicago.
The first time I met Ryan Bedell was on an orientation bus last Spring. This handsome young man from a few rows back approached me before the wheels were rolling and said “Hi, I’m Ryan and if you need someone to hold your baby so you can have a break I’d be happy to help.” Without a thought I plopped Annie immediately in his arms. I know men have a soft spot for babies too, but it’s usually the female students that are anxious to get their hands on Annie. Maybe the guys are embarrassed or uncomfortable, I’m not sure. But then along comes Ryan! He was the first student from that class, other than her aunt, who held Annie. And as I witnessed that first interaction between them, I saw it. The inevitable. The melting of hearts. But as obvious that it was that Ryan’s heart melted in that instant, it was ten times more evident that Annie’s melted in return. Ever since Ryan held Annie that first time, she seems to prefer the male students over the female population that outnumbers them. I don’t know if it’s the lack of maintenance to their facial hair while they study here or their bigger and broader embrace, but whatever it is, she eagerly jumps into the arms of men. Thanks for that Ryan! (If you can’t hear my sarcasm, I want you to be sure that it’s there.) We love you and miss seeing your contagious smile around campus. Thanks for contributing to Annie’s blog and helping to bring Awareness.
My first week in Rome, I remember the first time I met Annie Beazley. I hadn’t thought much about children with Down Syndrome before. I had never considered what it would be like if I had a child of my own with Down Syndrome. Annie made me begin to think about these questions. Annie is the most adorable child on the face of the planet. It is very saddening to me that so many parents who test prenatally for DS terminate their pregnancies. Annie is a gift to all those she meets. Her smile and playful nature made my day every time I saw her. I tell everyone she was the hardest goodbye I had to say when I left Rome, and I still miss her very much! Some of my favorite Annie memories were how she liked to scratch the whiskers on my face and how she would dance to The Band. She is one of the first things I bring up when people ask about the JFRC. I know two hundred students who miss her just as much as I do. Annie had a profound impact on all of us students. All of us have our favorite Annie moments, and everyone misses her. I would be incredibly lucky to have a baby as adorable, well behaved, and loving as Annie someday. Mike and Colleen are the best parents around, and she’s a lucky young lady!