Today’s guest author is non other than the fabulous Will Beischel. Another former student and current Junior at Loyola University Chicago. We are so glad to have had the great honor to get to know him in the four short months he studied here. If I had to pick one word to describe Will, it would be laughter. Not only because of his totally awesome and contagious laugh, but because it seems to constantly follow wherever he goes. You don’t want to miss a minute when Will’s around. His laugh, like Annie’s smile, can light up the darkest room. He is an incredibly talented writer, a perfect shopping partner, and a tremendous friend. And his dance moves can’t be beat. Although, I do recall hearing about a close call during a dance-off with my husband in Tunisia. Annie and I were tucked snuggly in our hotel beds at the time. So we’ll just give Will the benefit of the doubt. We love and miss you, Will. Thanks for your perfect words!
I can say with the utmost confidence that knowing Annie Beazley has changed my life. The first time I met Annie, I honestly had no idea that she had Down Syndrome. All I saw was a beautiful, well-behaved baby that possessed this magnetism that drew everyone to her with open arms and loving expressions. Whenever I saw her face, and even now just thinking about her jovial attitude and sassy looks, I could not help but smile. Annie truly elicits joy in whomever is in her presence. Whether that has to do with her diagnosis or not, who is to tell? Does it even matter?
As a psychology major, becoming familiar with Annie has done wonders for my understanding and views of developmental disabilities and “abnormal” functioning. When I learned that Annie had Down Syndrome, I looked with new eyes upon this precious little person and saw that nothing had changed. I think that’s when I realized something: Annie’s Down Syndrome is a part of her, just as much as my infamous laugh is a part of me. I can’t tease the two apart, nor would I ever want to. I just wish more people personally knew Annie and others like her who might view the world differently than most people. Maybe then everyone could stop using labels and misconceived perceptions to dismiss those who don’t perfectly fit into their idea of a society.
I can’t know what it’s like to be Annie Beazley, but I do know the light she brings into this world, a light that is invaluable and should be cherished. So I would like to thank Annie for that gift and would wish upon the world for that gift to be spread as far and as wide as possible. I love you so much Annie! Keep sharing that light and I can’t wait to see you again.