Video unintentionally brings Down syndrome awareness as siblings sing together
(KUTV) - A song near to the hearts of the Gray family of Heber, Utah, turned into Down syndrome awareness when a social media post went viral.
Monday morning, Amanda Gray captured her 12-year-old daughter, Lydia, playing the guitar and singing, "You Are My Sunshine," to her 2-year-old brother, Bo, who has Down syndrome.
The video, in addition to a second family video, has been viewed collectively more than 150,000 times.
Down syndrome is a chromosomal condition. It is associated with intellectual disability, a characteristic facial appearance, and weak muscle tone in infancy.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately one in every 700 babies in the United States is born with Down syndrome.
"'You Are My Sunshine' was the first song Lydia learned on the guitar and she sings it to Bo every day," Caleb Gray said. "He tries to imitate the words along with it. It’s incredible because he’s already developed 12 words just from singing the song."
Amanda said a recent news report stating that there is nearly 100 percent termination rate in pregnancies of Icelandic women whose fetuses test positive for Down syndrome has heightened the sensitivity of families with special needs children.
"These children with Down syndrome are incredible and have a huge capacity to love and understand," Amanda Gray said. "Don’t give them limitations, and they'll just fly!"
Caleb agreed saying, "Bo is nothing short of a miracle."
Before the couple knew their fifth child had Down syndrome, they'd sing to him while he was in the womb lyrics to the 1939 country song that say in part, "you make me happy when skies are grey."
And the Gray family has had dark days when Bo had an atrioventricular (AV) canal repair when he was 6 months old.
Shortly after that surgery, Bo had complications requiring a second surgery that left him in an induced coma.
"Somehow he pulled through," Caleb Gray said. "We sang that song to him while he was in the hospital and we saw his little foot move. He is such a special kid. We have always sang that song to him."
He added, " We are so humbled and thankful that DS is getting awareness. We don’t want it to be about us, we just want to do things for the special needs community and bring awareness where it is needed."