Joey, who has Down's syndrome, recently turned 62. His family threw with a birthday party parade for him to show how far he has come.
When Joey Wittkugle was born in 1958, doctors told his mother, Bobbi, that he would not live a day past the age of 11. Wittkugle was born with Down's syndrome, a disorder that causes intellectual disability, developmental delays, and distinct facial appearance. Yet he has successfully defied the odds the doctors gave him and recently turned 62 on June 29. According to WGN TV, his family threw a birthday parade on his special day. Bobbi said, "The doctor came in and never asked my name and said to me, 'You have to put him away. He’ll never talk. He’ll never walk. He’ll never know who you are. He will live to the age of 11 and that will be the end of it.'"
Another year has passed for Joey Wittkugle and he continues to beat all odds. https://t.co/xCiXOoZQZj— CBS 17 (@WNCN) June 19, 2020
As it turns out, Wittkugle broke all expectations the doctors had set on him, by proceeding to live for half a century more than initially predicted. Things though weren't easy for his parents when he was born. This stems mostly due to the stigma around people with Down's Syndrome. With Wittkugle's parents, they had to endure a time where their son was not particularly well accepted by society, which viewed the condition as some sort of an unnatural occurrence. "Sixty-two years ago, nobody knew about them and they kept them in the house," the mother said, "I mean, you did not have them out walking or one thing or another."
Joey obviously had some amazing caregivers who nurtured him along his 62 years....love should never be underestimated. Happy early birthday!— 1of4morgans (@1of4morgans) June 21, 2020
But it was her priest helped her realize that Joey was a blessing, which Bobbi remembers to this day. Recounting the encouragement her priest gave, she said, "Bobbi, you were gifted by God, you were chosen by God to have this child. You can’t turn your back on him. When he leaves you, then you will know the purpose of him coming to you." In honor of his life where he had to beat several odds and the society's perception of the rarely heard of condition back then, his family organized a special birthday parade on June 28 at the 5th Street Plaza in Struthers, near Save A Lot.
With America everything is possible. Never give up—Happy Birthday.— Tindog (@Tindog9) June 21, 2020
While the celebrations were in honor of him, it also meant a lot for his mother to raise awareness. She said, "[It is] to let people know that these children, these adults are just as human as you and I. They have feelings like we do. They give extra special love." For the doting mother, this isn't a birthday, it is also a year for her son who overcame the insurmountable odds stacked against him. "I want people to start understanding, when you see one of our children, don’t turn your back at them [as] they did years ago," she explained. "They are human, they are special from God and please learn to love them as much as they love you."
God bless this beautiful man. You are a credit to us all, Sir. With your determination wonderful smile thru adversity.— Karen smith (@Karensm03757774) June 21, 2020