At a time when medical advances were still at an all-time low, Joey Whittkugl’s mother, Bobby, was told that he’d never make it past 11. Joey was born with Down syndrome, and as Joey’s mother recalls, the doctor was very frank about his “facts.”

“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,’” Bobbi told WBTW. Of course, she was heartbroken and feared for her child’s future every day.

Thankfully, six decades later, Joey has proven all his naysayers wrong. He remarkably turned 62 on June 29, 2020.

Bobbi, who is almost 90 years old, said that when her son was born in Ohio, things were different. Very few people understood Down syndrome or people with developmental disabilities.

Often times, parents were advised to put their newborns in institutions.

Sixty-two years ago, nobody knew about them and they kept them in the house. I mean, you did not have them out walking or one thing or another,” she said.

Joey’s family has planned a car parade for him to celebrate his birthday.

While many people often celebrate birthdays as a special day or another year, Bobbie said that for her son, it’s always another year that defies any risk.

“I want people to start understanding, when you see one of our children, don’t turn your back at them like they did years ago. They are human, they are special from God and please learn to love them as much as they love you.”

Happy birthday Joey! It is sad to think that there are people who do not believe in you, but there are so many people who do.

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