As recently as 1983, the average life expectancy of people with Down syndrome was 25 years. Today, that number has increased to approximately 60 years, which can be largely attributed to the end of the cruel practice of institutionalizing babies born with this condition.
To say that people with Down syndrome have gone through a lot is an understatement. Thanks to medical and societal advancements, the quality and length of their lives have become significantly better.
Buddy Wood is the perfect example of a person with Down syndrome who has withstood all the trials of his time. Back then, babies who had his condition were expected to live short lives. But Buddy defied the odds, for he just celebrated his 65th birthday last month!
To commemorate the special occasion, his family decided to mark it with a photo shoot.
The photographer, Brittany Cook, shared a little bit about Buddy’s history with InsideEdition.com: “It was very common for babies born with Down syndrome to be placed in an institution. Buddy’s parents of course did not do that and brought him home to live with his siblings. At the session, Buddy’s sisters said the reason he has lived to be 65 is because he was shown nothing but love and his parents took the best care possible of him.”
Buddy now lives with his sister in Florida. He was visiting family in Virginia last month when his niece proposed the idea of having a photo shoot for his upcoming birthday.
Buddy’s niece thought of inviting a local 2-year-old toddler named Sutton, who also has Down syndrome, to join her uncle for the photo shoot. And the results were just beautiful.
“The shoot was wonderful. Buddy was so loving to everyone he met,” Brittany said. “He just hugged and kissed all of our hands. As soon as Sutton and he held hands, he kissed Sutton’s hand. It was such a special connection.”