Twenty one years ago today, the Down Syndrome community lost a champion. Michael Landon was the spokesman for the National Down Syndrome Congress when our Annie was born. We first met Michael in Washington, D.C. at the NDSC convention when Annie was fourteen months old.
How he could light up a room! He would step out of the elevator and you could tell he was genuinely happy to see his "special" friends.
He graciously signed autographs, gave hugs and posed for family photos. He was generous with his time, funny and so very kind.
The next time we saw Michael was at the NDSC convention the following year in Cincinnati. He remembered us, and when he saw us said, "Let's do it like we did last time." But Annie was not having any of it. She wouldn't go to him for the picture. So, instead of holding Annie...he put his arms around Mr. Mugwump...and me. My grandmother would swoon!
Not long after that day, he was gone.
To many, this fine man is known as Little Joe from Bonanza, Pa Ingalls from Little House on the Prairie, and Jonathan Smith from Highway to Heaven. To those of us who were fortunate enough to have met him through NDSC, he was a friend...and he loved our kids.
Enjoy the day,