Frederica man featured on Down syndrome video in Times Square

This photo of Brian Perry, 40, of Frederica, will be part of a video, which will feature photographs highlighting children, teens and adults from all across the country with Down syndrome, reminding the world in a very big way about their contributions and milestones. It will be shown today in Times Square in New York and also livestreamed.

FREDERICA — Brian Perry is the oldest of three children. His parents and family members jokingly call him the “Golden Child.”

“They call me that because I’ve lived a very blessed life,” Mr. Perry said.

The 40-year-old Frederica resident, who has Down syndrome, has never let his condition define his life.

“I am active in six sports in Delaware Special Olympics, which include soccer, golf, swimming, basketball, bowling and cycling,” Mr. Perry said. “I also take boxing lessons every week in Middletown through a program called Down to Box sponsored by the (Delaware Special Olympics).”

“‘Awesome’ is a word I sometimes use to describe myself,” he added.

The National Down Syndrome Society will celebrate the contributions and milestones of people living with Down syndrome through a video that will air in Times Square in New York City on Sept. 20.

The video will feature photographs highlighting children, teens and adults from all across the country with Down syndrome, reminding the world in a very big way about their contributions and milestones.

Mr. Perry continued to live up to his family nickname as his photo was selected as one of 500 to appear in the video.

“I am very excited and proud,” Mr. Perry said. “There are over 250,000 people with Down syndrome in the United States and I will be featured as one. This is a big deal.”

The picture Mr. Perry submitted was him getting ready to attend a wedding with his girlfriend Rachel Rhea.

“My family was attending my girlfriend’s sister’s wedding and Rachel was the maid of honor for her sister,” Mr. Perry said.

Mr. Perry is active in six sports in Delaware Special Olympics, which include soccer, golf, swimming, basketball, bowling and cycling.

“Before we went to the wedding, we took some pictures of each other in the hotel lobby because we were all dressed up and looking fancy. I guess we were lucky that these simple pictures turned out so great using an iPhone.”

He was ecstatic when he first received the news.

“I was home and my mom received an email with the subject “Congratulations! You’re In!”, Mr. Perry said. “I started jumping up and down saying “Yes, I’m in! Yes, I’m in!” I was very, very excited because this is a big deal for me and my entire family. It’s an honor to represent others with Down syndrome.”

Mr. Perry said he submitted a photo in previous years, but wasn’t selected.

“My mom submitted the photo with a very brief description directly to the (National Down Syndrome Society) website from her computer,” Mr. Perry said. “She did it once before, but my photo wasn’t selected. It’s good to keep trying though and this time my photo was selected.”

He said the difference this go-around was finding a picture that depicted his true self.

Brian Perry joins his girlfriend of four years, Rachel Rhea, at a Halloween party.

“There were a few other photos of me participating in Special Olympics and lots with my girlfriend but the one we chose showed me looking handsome in my new suit,” Mr. Perry said. “Many people submit photos of beautiful babies and little kids with Down syndrome. Since I’m 40 it’s good for the parents of younger children to imagine what their children will be able to do when they are grown.”

“I think I was selected because my photo depicts me as a young adult with Down syndrome looking awesome,” he added.

The presentation was originally supposed to be held on Sept. 12, but due to technical difficulties, it got pushed back. Mr. Perry won’t attend the presentation in New York, but he plans to watch the livestream with family and friends.

Brian Perry has been employed by Aramark at Delaware State University for the past seven years. He currently works in the Village Cafe where the students get their meals.

“We would have gone this year but due to the COVID-19 it is not recommended to travel to New York,” Mr. Perry said. “We plan to watch it from home, and we plan to buy the DVD when it’s released.

The Times Square video presentation will kick off Down Syndrome Awareness month in October and even though Mr. Perry won’t attend the presentation he feels as though the video will have an everlasting impact on everyone all across the world.

“It is important for the world to see that while many people are affected by Down syndrome by having an extra chromosome, this ‘extra’ is not a negative at all,” Mr. Perry said. “It’s actually ‘extra’ ordinary.

“People with Down syndrome have so much to offer to society and we can do everything that anyone else in this world can do. It just may take us longer and we may be a little bit slower than others. We are slow to hate or judge others, but we are fast to love and accept others. These are qualities that everyone should learn to have.”

The presentation will be live-streaming from noon to 1 p.m. and can be viewed on the NDSS Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/NDSS1979.

Arshon Howard is a freelance writer living in Dover.