Spotlight on Sam Sartoris



Pontiac, Ill. -

October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month and if a Pontiac woman had her way she would have plenty to say in a public forum.
The woman is Mary Ann Sartoris and she is the mother of Sam Sartoris, who was born with Down syndrome.
"If I had a band box to stand on and tell the world something I would speak directly to physicians all over the world. Sam was born 15 years ago and I remember full-well what physicians told me before his birth," said Sartoris. "The only things the doctors and specialists told me was the negative and that I had the option to terminate the pregnancy.
"I don't know what specialists or any physicians tell their patients now but I hope it has a positive take," she said. "I can understand explaining what could be the negatives but give equal time to the positives. The positives absolutely outweigh the negatives."
She said when she speaks of her son the words joy, love and compassion come to mind.
"Sam sees everyone as equal. He loves everyone without exception. There are no differences between people because he finds joy in every person he meets," said Sartoris. "He has taught us all just how non-judgmental a person can be."
Sam recently celebrated his 15th birthday with a trip to Disney World. He said his favorite part of the amusement park was the parades. He said he loves all parades.
The Florida trip was taken as a way for Sam to celebrate and have some fun because his mother said he will be facing some additional heart surgeries for leaking heart valves.
"It seems impossible that 15 years have breezed by and Sam continues to be the light of our lives," she said. "To date Sam has undergone 22 surgeries yet he still loves to go see his doctors and the many nurses and staff who have been part of his life."
She said Sam is an amazing young man and as a mother she has cried endless tears over scary medical situations in the hospital and at home.
"I can say with certainty that the number of tears do not compare to the number of smiles he brings to me everyday. He continues to teach us new things about Down syndrome and life all the time," she said.
She said that early on Sam's doctors told her and her husband, Vince, that Sam would learn to walk and talk but it would take a little longer than their three other children.
"Sam took his first steps two days after his fourth birthday. He also, with the help of speech therapy, is talking better each day and he loves to go shopping and pay for items with his own money," said Sartoris.
Other favorites of Sam's are playing golf with his father and visiting zoos.
"Eastland Mall has a new putt-putt golf course and I am betting that will be something fun Sam and I can do during the upcoming winter when it is too cold for him to play outdoors,"she said.
She said another favorite thing of her son is keeping score for guys playing basketball and always wanting to get into the game.
"Sam learned to serve on the altar at St. Mary's by watching his brothers and learning from them. After his brothers went off to college Seth Lyons asked Sam to serve with him," she said. "Now that Seth has left for college Mark, Paul and Mike Panno and Max Eppel are serving with Sam and giving him a little help. This is just a small example of the wonderful young people we have in our community.
"We are so thankful and proud of the community we live in and all the help and love it has provided us. Sam would love to get to know everyone he comes in contact with. I truly believe the best way to learn about Down syndrome is to know someone and spend time with someone who was born with Down syndrome," she said.
Sartoris said her public forum on Down syndrome would also include telling everyone who would listen a special message from her heart.
"Take time to talk to your children about ways to show respect to all individuals with disabilities and explain that these special people are a very important part of God's plan. As we celebrate Down Syndrome Awareness Month and Respect Life Month, get to know a member of your community who was born with Down syndrome. You may be lucky enough to make a life-long friend."
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1 comments:

Don Crane said...

I am loving this blog! Thanks for sharing!

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