Down Syndrome Baby Proving What Makes You Different Makes You Beautiful

happy-soul-project

You guys, if this isn’t the cutest baby picture you have ever seen, then you have no soul!

For the rest of you, feel free to make googly faces and weird baby noises, it’s ok, we did too.

This gorgeous little muffin is Pip McCallan, and her face is an important reminder that being beautiful means being different, not assimilating.

Mom Tara McCallan, who has a blog called the Happy Soul Project, entered a contest run by Indie88, a radio station in Toronto where they live, and won. The contest called for entries with a message and a photo related to “spreading happiness” for which the prize was their very own billboard.

Pip’s picture was voted on by 45,000 darn good Canadian citizens, alongside the slogan “What makes you different makes you beautiful” on a billboard placed right in the middle of downtown Toronto.

Here’s what mom Tara wrote in her entry:

“I had a daughter a year and a half ago… a daughter that has rocked my world. My daughter Pip has gone through numerous eye and heart surgeries, wears a patch, tiny contacts, little baby glasses. So I understand why some people stare at her or are curious. What I don’t understand though is those who purposely want to make fun of Pip or others with a disability. You see she also just happens to have Down syndrome.”

“Since she was born I started Happy Soul Project and have made it my mission to show others that although our life is a wee bit different, it is brilliant and it is beautiful all the same. So if we could help just one person by seeing Pip and our message that “What Makes You Different Is What Makes You Beautiful” on a big, bloody billboard, that would be just about the best thing on the planet.”

billboard-pip-mccallan

It is a significant milestone and achievement for Tara, because she knows how valuable this message is to so many other mothers. Having a child with down syndrome comes with a lot of fears for some, but her journey is going to inspire in more ways than one.

Tara told ABC News that she learned about her 18 month-old daughter Pip’s down syndrome diagnosis the day she was born, and was not prepared for it at all.

She decided to fight off all the fears and stigma’s and embrace the journey of having a gorgeous down syndrome daughter by blogging about it.

Winning the Indie88 competition she says was a momentous milestone for her, teaching her that embracing is more powerful than shrinking back.

“It was a feeling of redemption,” McCallan told ABC News. “We had come full circle.”

“I so wish I could hold that mess of a woman in the hospital and tell her it would be OK,” she said, referring to her own grief on getting Pip’s diagnosis.

In an article for the Huffington Post, Tara writes about initially having a hard time accepting her daughter having down syndrome, but today she fiercely and proudly celebrates her differences.

“I wanted there to be a way in which the world could see what I see now. I wanted the world to see value and purpose in a life that is stamped as “different.” I wanted the world to see just how brilliant celebrating those differences really can be.”

“I believe that a world that celebrates differences, that accepts and includes people for who they are, and learns to see people first and disabilities second, is a more beautiful one. A world that is better for all to live in, colored with differences that make it unique.”

billboard-pip-mccallan

“It’s up to each and every one of us to change the world into just that. It’s up to us to break down stigmas, motivate positive perspectives, see the ability in all, and respect and appreciate the value in everyone,” writes Tara.

“Who knew one little girl could change so many lives? Tara and Pip taught us that being different is something to be thankful for. And I will always be thankful to Tara and Pip for teaching me that. I hope everyone is as touched by the Happy Soul Project billboard as I am,” said Candice Knihnitski, a DJ at Indie88 radio station.

In Feb 2014 an Italian organization dedicated to raising awareness and support for families with down syndrome members released a beautiful video encouraging future mothers and anyone else in the dark about this condition, that having down syndrome is not limiting, and nor should it be a cause for sadness.

The video called ‘Dear Future Moms’ is exactly the kind of resource that needs to be out there more so that the awful stigma’s that exist can dissipate for good. Tara’s Happy Soul Project is yet another example of everyday women having the courage to embrace their journey, and show what true beauty is: being different and loving it!

Take a look at the video journey from blog to billboard below. Be warned, you better have some tissues handy!

16 Comments

  1. cheryldelp says:

    I have a grandson with Downs. He is 22 years old now. I wish we had known then what we know now. He doesn’t talk much, but can spell pretty well. Music is a big help to him, by getting his walking stride better and connecting the pathways in the brain, making him more alert. There are different degrees of Downs also, some are more severe than others. They are a beautiful loving human being and want what we all want~~love and affection and acceptance. Bless Tara for seeing that in Pip.

  2. It’s Pip’s momma here – Just seeing this now…Thank you so very much for sharing in our story..Means the world…And I agree, that is just about the cutest baby picture I’ve ever seen:)

  3. Jacqui Suchostawski says:

    Pip is 18 months old not 18 years old….and she isn’t a Down Syndrome Baby, she is a baby that has Down Syndrome….other than that, it’s great to see this article spotlight the wonderful Pip!

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