Thursday, December 07, 2006

Condition won't slow his efforts

December 7, 2006

Trent Evans enjoys eating tacos and taking his friends and family out to eat. He also likes to help clean the house and mowing the grass with the lawn tractor.

This handsome young man from Crest Hill was born with Down syndrome 26 years ago.

Approximately one child out of 800 will be born with this condition, which occurs generally as a result of an extra chromosome. The National Down Syndrome Society estimates that there are 350,000 people living with Down syndrome in America.

Evans enjoys working part time at Bob Evans Restaurant in Joliet. He keeps busy washing dishes and bussing tables. The para transit service picks Evans up at his home and takes him to work.

He enjoys basketball, soccer, swimming and softball, and he participated in the tri-county Special Olympics.

Sometimes, like most people with disabilities, Evans is sad when people in stores or other places gawk at him.Evans believes everyone in this world should be treated with dignity and respect.

One of Evans' favorite television shows of all time was the family sitcom "Life Goes On." It focused positively on how Corky -- a kid with Down syndrome -- was included in the family's life and everyday activities. His favorite actor was Chris Burke, who played Corky. Burke is an actor with Down syndrome and now serves as a goodwill ambassador for the National Down Syndrome Society.

Like Corky, Evans dreams of the day when he might have his own apartment and find someone to love and marry.

Evans is fortunate to have a loving and supportive family. His mother, Cindy, has been his advocate. This family also has a profound faith. Evans has been accepted by members of his church and he ushers every Wednesday night.

A piano sits in their living room. I asked Cindy if she played the piano. She sat down and played an original song she titled "Wonderfully Made," in honor of her son. The melody was hauntingly beautiful and the chorus sums up her view on life:

I'm wonderfully made. That's who I am.

For I am part of God's great plan.

I'm wonderfully made by His own hand.

He loves me you see, for he made me me.

Valerie Brew-Parrish can be contacted at

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