Facebook, Football And You

Jo Ann SimonsBy: Jo Ann Simons

Recently, I posted a picture of my son, Jon, who has Down syndrome standing with Tom Brady. We New Englander’s think of him as the NFL’s best quarterback. While there may be debate on that subject don’t have it with Jon. You will not win.

While where the picture was taken is not critical to this post, it was taken shortly after Jon hit the ceremonial first tee shot at the Best Buddies Hyannis Port Challenge golf tournament in early June.

A few days after the picture appeared on Facebook, I delighted in seeing that there were 119 likes and 15 comments. I read each comment several times and I looked at each person who indicated “like” and remembered how they were in my life.

This is what I found out:

I went to public school with 14 of you in Swampscott, Massachusetts.

I went to college with 11 people.

My friends and acquaintances made up 20 individuals.

My family came in at 8.

Neighbors were 7.

Friends and parents of both my kids were counted at 18.

Over 22 are from the disability community.

At least 15 were work colleagues

Four are people who are paid to be in Jon’s life.

Jon Simons and Tom Brady

Jon Simons and Tom Brady

My Facebook friends are from down the street and from many states and from two foreign countries (Israel and Denmark). Some of you I have known most of my life and others of you I have met along the journey of life. But, each and every person who took a fraction of a second to “like” the picture and those who wrote a positive comment are part of my support system.

Thank you. When you “like” a picture or an update on Jon, whether you intended it or not, you are sending me a strong and positive message. Your “like” or “comment” means you get it. It’s a “high five” or a warm hug. You are telling me that you celebrate the good days with me and want to comfort me in the days when the struggle returns. While it has been 35 years of joy on this remarkable journey in the world of disability, there are days when I need your love and support and Facebook brings it to me.

Parenting a child with a disability is a marathon, not a sprint and I want to thank you all for running with me.

Jo Ann Simons is a Disability Advisor to the Ruderman Family Foundation and President and CEO of the Cardinal Cushing Centers



Filed under perceptions of disability

18 responses to “Facebook, Football And You

  1. Laura Wharton

    Am I the only one that got teary-eyed reading this and then looking at the beautiful picture? Thanks, Jo Ann. Now I’ll look for you on Facebook to add one more “like”.

  2. Thank you Laura and I look forward to your Facebook friendship.

  3. Beverly Beckham

    Beautiful, Jo Ann. And right on the mark. I love that you tallied the likes and thought about what they mean. Thank you for sharing.

  4. I always look forward to reading your blog and very glad that our paths have crossed, that one day in Little rock, AR! I take care of my “Lil’ Sis” whom is a big sports fan as well! You have the ability to put into words what most of us cannot and I truly appreciate you, your books and reading about your journey! Thank you!

  5. Jane Brown

    Jo Ann:
    You are a true warrior in this battle for more recognition and rights for our disabled. You do it with brilliance and grace in every aspect of your life and I am honored to say I know you. You go girl …. the world is a better place with you in it.
    Fondly, Jane (Klein) Brown

  6. You have always impressed me with your grace and humility since Jon came into this world. Since my sister was born with spina bifida, I am so proud to see the advances the world has made in acceptance and celebration of those who are “differently abled”. I welcome every post about Jon, and hope to meet him again one day.

    • Hey Susie, It’s such a better world and I hope you get to see Jon again. I received such great support from our Wheaton classmates when he met you all at the early reunion.

  7. mo717

    Jon is an amazing man who has accomplished more, been more places and met more famous people than anyone I know. I’m proud to know him and love chatting with him whenever our paths cross. I also love reading these blogs about Jon and others. Thanks Jo Ann! “Coach Mo” McNamara

  8. Judy Cowan

    Jo Ann, although I don’t really know Jon as a grown man, I spent lots of time with him at the J back when he was Jonathan:) The strength and support you and your family has given him over the years has no doubt made him the man he is today!

  9. Reblogged this on BEST BUDDIES BLOG and commented:
    After reading this, we’re glad to be a part of the Facebook community! Check out how a photo of Tom Brady and Jon, a Best Buddies participant, made a mother feel after it was shared…

  10. Thanks for sharing, Jo Ann! Maybe you can add these likes to your tally? 🙂

  11. I will and now I have over 1000 “likes”!. I feel like a rock star!

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