A father’s love is essential

To read on The Mighty website:

20 Celebrity Dads Who Have Kids With Disabilities

Ellen Stumbo  June 2018

If you ask any of my kids who their favorite parent is, I suspect all three of them will say, “Dad!” And I admit it — he is a better parent. He is more patient, a better listener and he is funny (at least he tries to be and right now the kids still think he’s funny).

When it comes to parenting kids with disabilities, there are some dads who are in the spotlight, working tirelessly to bring awareness and acceptance for our children. They speak about the different conditions their children have and donate their money, time and effort towards supporting organizations they believe in. Yet perhaps what is most powerful is hearing them share about the love they have for their kids and everyday stories we can relate to.

These are some of the celebrity dads who have kids with disabilities:

1. John McGinley and Max

father's love

image via Facebook

Actor John McGinley is perhaps one of the most recognized celebrities advocating for people with Down syndrome, specifically his son, Max. McGinley is a board member and international spokesperson for the Global Down Syndrome Foundation and a key advocate for Special Olympics’ campaign, “Spread the Word to End the Word.

2. Colin Farrell and James

Actor Colin Farrell’s son, James, has Angelman syndrome. In a piece for Darien Patch he said, “[James] has made my life so much richer and so much more worthwhile and has given it such meaning that my life alone never had. Farrell is a supporter of the Foundation for Angelman Syndrome Therapeutics.

3. Albert Pujols and Isabella

Albert Pujols with daughter Isabella at a dance

image via Facebook

Albert Pujols is a professional Major League Baseball player who currently plays for the Los Angeles Angels and previously played for 11 years with the St. Louis Cardinals. His daughter, Isabella, has Down syndrome. Pujols writes heartfelt messages on his Facebook page where he shares about his daughter, who was the catalyst for him and his wife, Dee Dee, to create the Pujols Family Foundation. Through their foundation, they promote awareness, provide hope and meet tangible needs for families and children who live with Down syndrome. They also provide extraordinary experiences for children with disabilities and/or life-threatening illnesses. Pujols is originally from the Dominican Republic, and his foundation helps improve the standard of living and quality of life for impoverished children in the Dominican Republic through education, medical relief and goods. In a Facebook post about his daughter, Pujols shared: “There is nothing ordinary about my daughter. I thank God every day that he made her extraordinary. If you love someone with Down syndrome, you know what I mean.”

4. Doug Flutie and Doug

Flutie with his family, his wife, daughter and son.

image via Facebook

Former NFL quarterback Doug Flutie has a son, Doug Flutie Jr., on the autism spectrum. In 1998, Flutie created the Flutie Foundation for Autism, an organization with the goal to help families get access to care, lead more active lifestyles and grow toward adult independence.

5. Gene Stallings and John Mark

Former Alabama football coach Gene Stallings had a son, John Mark, who had Down syndrome. Coach Stallings has been known to reach out to new parents of babies with Down syndrome and write to them as they begin the journey raising a child with a disability. He wrote the book, “Another Season: A Coach’s Story of Raising an Exceptional Son.” Sadly, John Mark died at the age of 46 from a heart condition. In an interview with CBS News, Stalings said, “If the good Lord asked if he could give me a perfectly normal child or Johnny, I’d pick Johnny every time. No doubt about it.”

6. Heath Bell and Jordyn

MLB player Heath Bell played for the San Diego Padres. He has a daughter, Jordyn, who has Down syndrome.

7. Rory Feek and Indiana

Joey+Rory were a beloved country bluegrass duo. In 2016 Joey died from cancer. Joey and Rory’s daughter, Indiana, has Down syndrome. Rory writes in his about page on his blog, “Our youngest, Indiana, helps me to make sense of this world.” Rory writes, films and shares his life and stories with Indie on his blog.

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