Living with Down syndrome comes with its challenges, but Kevin Moore and Dena Fabian-Moore know that having the condition doesn’t mean having to live differently.
The couple has a daughter with Down syndrome named Madison. Years ago, when she was about to enter kindergarten, their school district in Muskogee, Oklahoma, didn’t support integration.
Despite that, Kevin and Dena fought hard for Madison to be included in the traditional classroom setup. And that push turned out to be one of the best decisions they’ve made for their precious daughter.
That’s because Madison just graduated from Muskogee High School! And the best part is, she got to do so with her two dear friends—Pryce Jackson and Kyran English.
The trio grew up together, and during their big day, they donned their cap and gown and accepted their diplomas. And when it was time to take pictures, Madison made sure that she got to snap one with Pryce and Kyran.
Kevin later posted their picture on Twitter and wrote in the caption: “These two fine young men have watched out and have been friends with my daughter since kindergarten.”
The photo has gone massively viral, and knowing the beautiful story behind their friendship makes that seemingly simple picture more remarkable.
Pryce and Kyran have treated Madison like their little sister since they were 5 years old. If they saw her eating lunch alone, they would sit down with her and keep her company. On field trips, they would hold her hand if she needed support. Madison would also seek out one or both of them to chat or walk home from school.
The two genuinely enjoyed all these interactions with Madison.
“It was never a burden to us at all,” Kyran said.
And it’s not just Pryce and Kyran who takes care of Madison—the girl also knows how to support her “big brothers.”
When Kyran was in third grade, a bad grade left him crying, and the first person to comfort him was Madison. He never forgot her kindness that day.
Kevin and Dena are glad that Madison found such good friends in Pryce and Kyran. They said that the teenagers treated her like they would any other student and were always there to protect her from the mean kids at school.
“They don’t look at her as a kid with Down syndrome,” Dena said. “They just look at her as [a] friend.”
“It was kind of like the big brother role, you know, just picking it up and keeping on with it, making sure she was good over the years, being that person our parents raised us to be,” Pryce said.
Hundreds of thousands of people have liked and retweeted Kevin’s post, praising the sweet young men who showed Madison love and support throughout their years together.
Now that their story has gone viral, Kevin is encouraging other parents of children with special needs to continue advocating for their kids—both inside and outside of school.
“Parents, please be an advocate your child. When a school says No, we can’t do that. You tell them YES YOU CAN!” he wrote in a tweet.
If they hadn’t pushed for Madison to be integrated into the traditional classroom, she would have never met her wonderful friends.
Pryce and Kyran are also grateful to have Madison in their lives. In fact, they both look up to her.
“I think if we had a world full of people like Madison, I think we’d [have] a lot better place,” Kyran said. “She’s managed to overcome a lot. And if I were to use one word to describe her it would be ‘inspirational.’”
Congratulations to Pryce, Kyran, and Madison for graduating! May your beautiful friendship continue to flourish in the years to come.
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