A Mom’s Plea for Friends for Her Son With Down Syndrome Receives an Incredible Response

The human spirit is a powerful force, especially when it’s rallied by the power of love, compassion, and friendship. This was made abundantly clear when Donna Herter, a mom from Rochester, Minnesota, turned to Facebook with a plea for her 24-year-old son, Christian Bowers, a charming young man with Down Syndrome.

Source: CBS News

Christian, a high school graduate, had been experiencing loneliness and bouts of depression due to a lack of companionship. Despite his earnest and often innocent invitations to the people they met during their trips to Walmart or other stores, his plea for friends fell on deaf ears. This left both mother and son longing for more.

Feeling helpless, Donna crafted a post on Facebook late one night after her nursing shift. She expressed her hope to find a male friend, aged 20 to 28, for Christian. Someone who would play video games, chat, and simply enjoy Christian’s company, even offering a compensation of $80 for two hours.

Source: CBS News

Waking to a staggering 5,000 comments, Donna was initially overwhelmed, even contemplating deleting the post. But upon reviewing the replies, she discovered a whirlpool of support, encouragement, advice from parents in similar situations, and many willing volunteers to help.

For those with Down Syndrome, making and maintaining friendships can be challenging, particularly upon reaching adulthood. Barriers such as a lack of transportation can hinder their social lives, yet the importance of social relationships for everyone, including those with Down Syndrome, cannot be overstated. According to a 2018 Australian study, having at least three social relationships significantly enhanced the quality of life for young adults with Down Syndrome.

Source: CBS News

Amid a sea of suggestions, volunteer offerings, and shared wisdom, Donna eventually selected seven local gentlemen to become regular companions for Christian, with a rotating visiting schedule. One of these is James Hasting, a man who confessed his heartbreak upon reading the initial post, and shares a passion for working with individuals with disabilities.

Hasting, who has spent time with Christian playing video games and watching movies, reflects on the lessons he’s learned. “Christian has taught me to look at the world for more than what we see on the surface,” he said. “Though on the surface we may look different, deep down we all have similarities and getting along should be easy.”

Source: CBS News

The ripple effects of Donna’s plea have reached beyond the local community, with people across the country sending gifts, a day spent as the honorary mayor of Wentzville, Minnesota, and even an invitation to bowl with the local marines. This newfound companionship has breathed a fresh burst of joy into Christian’s life. His mother reported, “He goes to bed every night with a smile on his face.”

Herter’s simple wish to bring happiness to her son has become a beacon of hope for others in similar situations. “Everybody needs a friend,” she shared. “What if I had literally not one person to call, to talk to, to hang out, to have lunch with. And man, it just really hit me thinking about that, how lonely that would be.”

Source: CBS News

Her plea is a testament to the power of social media and the boundless capacity of the human heart. Donna’s story serves as a gentle reminder to reach out in our communities and find those who might benefit from a friendly face or a shared game of video games. As for Christian? He’s enjoying his new friends and the joy of simple companionship.

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