To read on The Charlotte Observer website:
DADS supply Down syndrome support
Ten guys meet at a sports bar. They drink beer, eat wings and talk Down syndrome. DADS, short for Dads Appreciating Down Syndrome, is a support group for dads who don’t like support groups.
“We are wired differently,” said Anthony Cirone, a founding chapter member from south Charlotte and father of 18-year-old Julia, who has Down syndrome.
The guys agreed that a traditional support group wouldn’t work for them. They needed to find fellowship in a casual way.
“It’s about camaraderie – it gives us an outlet to talk about our kids and come to the realization that Down syndrome isn’t going to be a tragedy anymore, just a part of fatherhood,” Cirone said.
Jeremy Wallace, father of 5-year-old Charles from Charlotte, shared through tears how the group changed his life. He came to his first meeting while his wife was still pregnant, soon after finding out their child would be born with Down syndrome. He said he was searching for answers and found the group online.
Meeting other dads and seeing them enjoy life and hearing stories about their children and how far they’ve come – it made me realize that it’s going to be OK.
Craig Wanek, DADS member
“I broke down at the first meeting, when they asked me to share my story,” he said. “They embraced me and congratulated me on having a baby.”
He said they accepted him and helped him get back to the joy of parenthood. (…)