Understanding Down Syndrome

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I just wanted to thank The Hockey News for your article in the April 29 issue about Diana Stimpert. It really moved my entire family.

As a father of four boys, two of whom have Down Syndrome, I can appreciate how deeply the Peoria Rivermen and the community were touched by Diana's life.

Down Syndrome is probably one of the most misunderstood medical conditions ever discovered. But those who take the time to get to know people with it, find they have nothing but love, admiration and respect.

Their can-do spirit and positive attitude towards life, no matter the situation, is nothing short of remarkable. In this otherwise fast paced world we find ourselves living in, we tend to lose sight of what really matters in life.

The ability to put life into focus is the gift people with Down Syndrome, people like Diana, give to anybody who has the patience to accept it. They always find a way to give so much with very little effort and in such abundance.

Kudos to the Rivermen for rearranging their sports schedule to pay respect to Diana Stimpert. This truly is a testament to the fact that the Rivermen were fortunate enough to receive Diana Stimpert's unconditional love, smart enough to accept it and blessed enough to experience it.

She gave the players and coaches, and I'll venture to say the whole community, a gift they will treasure forever.

Thomas F. Gainey, Staten Island, N.Y.

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