Christian Bowers, a 24-year-old man with Down syndrome, felt lonely and isolated during the pandemic. He had no friends to hang out with or talk to, and his mother, Donna Herter, was worried about his mental health.
She decided to post a message on Facebook, asking if anyone in her area would be interested in befriending her son. She expected a few responses, maybe a dozen at most. She was shocked when her post went viral, attracting thousands of messages and invitations from people who wanted to be Christian’s friend.Embed from Getty Images
“I was overwhelmed. I couldn’t believe it,” Herter said. “I had people from all over the world reaching out to me, saying they wanted to be his friend, they wanted to send him cards, they wanted to meet him.”
Herter said she received messages from people of all ages, backgrounds and walks of life. Some were parents of children with Down syndrome, some were teachers or caregivers, some were just kind-hearted strangers. Some lived nearby, some lived across the country or overseas.
Herter said she tried to reply to every message, and arranged for Christian to meet some of his new friends in person. She said he was thrilled to have so many people care about him and show him kindness.
“He was so happy. He was smiling and laughing and hugging everyone,” she said. “He said he felt like a celebrity.”Embed from Getty Images
Herter said she hopes her post will raise awareness and acceptance of people with Down syndrome, and inspire others to reach out and make new friends.
“I think it’s important for people to realize that people with Down syndrome are just like everyone else. They have feelings, they have dreams, they have hobbies, they have interests,” she said. “They just want to be loved and accepted.”
She also thanked everyone who responded to her post and offered their friendship to Christian.
“I’m so grateful for all the love and support we’ve received. It means the world to us,” she said. “You’ve made my son’s life so much better.”
- Mom’s post for son with Down syndrome goes viral by CBS News on 5/3/2023
- Mother’s post for son with Down syndrome goes viral by WLTX on 5/4/2023
- Mom’s Facebook post seeking friends for son with Down syndrome goes viral by Fox News on 5/4/2023