Living Life Well, for 40 Years and Counting!

Living Life Well, for 40 Years and Counting! May 7, 2012

When Jonathan Frederick Will was born on May 4, 1972 (his dad’s 31st birthday) people with Down syndrome were expected to live only about 20 years. In fact, the first question the doctor asked was whether they even wanted to take him home from the hospital.

Last week, however, Jon turned 40 years old!

Read this column about a life with Downs Syndrome being well lived, from the perspective of his loving father, George Will.

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  • bellagrazi

    May Jon (and sweet Trig) live to be a 100. We need more people with their gift of joy in this world. Thanks for sharing this article, Bristol. Beautifully done.

    • Pamela Masterson


  • Ian

    When I first read about Jonathan, I couldn’t believe it at first, because I thought about 20 years was still an expected age. I’m so heartened to hear that his story and the stories of other similar Americans are changing. God Bless the Angels with Down Syndrome that come into our lives and help turn us into better humans. ♥

  • Frederick lang

    What a great story and a timely reminder of how love can conquer all odds that may be placed before us. May God stop those heartless and hating naysayers in the media world from catagorizing those disadvantaged souls, as being less important because of their disease. Every human being born(or unborn at the time) have a soul and a purpose for coming into this world. They are God’s gift and we are their caretakers, to be stewards of God’s special children.

    Thanks for sharing this story Bristol. God bless you and all the Palin family for their tremendous dedication to and impact on the national and international scene. We may not have had all these important issues come to light if God had not moved your mom to accepting a noble honor of being a vice presidental candidate.

    Rodeo, Ca

  • Rhonda Moore

    I had a cousin born in the ’50’s with DS. At the time, they asked my aunt if she wanted to commit Cesley to the mental hospital (common in those days). My aunt refused, & raised her to be a kind, loving soul. She lived until her late 50’s, surely because of the love she was surrounded with. We lived in different states, but when we did see each other, the love she gave to each of us was priceless! I’ll never forget my special cousin, Cesley, who accepted us unconditionally & expected nothing in return. We should all be like minded toward anyone considered “different”. So glad your family was bold enough to bring this issue to light, that we all are worthy of love & respect! Thank you, Bristol, for continuing the conversation.

  • RefudiateObama2012

    I have a niece with Down Syndrome. She will be forty years old on her next birthday. My sister was told she wouldn’t live past her second birthday because of the multitude of medical problems she had. She proved the doctors wrong. She has held down a job for over twenty years.

  • Barbara Landi

    Good story to pass on… I had no idea.

  • Georgia

    Thank you for sharing this uplifting story, Bristol. Your blog is a major success and your fans are loving it! My friends and family cannot wait for your new show to start. We will be glued to the TV every week. Keep up the great work!

  • Gary Ernsthausen

    I have a second cousin with DS and he will be 57 in July and just the last year old age is coming on him. He always loved to be useful and keep things neat but one day the green beans went down the garbage disposal and one time we found a bag of potatoes in the freezer after he visited us.

  • Megan M

    Great story Bristol…my cousin Michael was born with DS and he died at the age of 33 from a heart attack – he would get very stressed out and anxious when having to go somewhere and one day it was just too much for his heart. Now he’s at peace in heaven.

  • otlset

    Good for George Will! Another prominent conservative has chosen to accept God’s gift rather than rejecting it based on human standards of ‘perfection’, and has thus realized over time a very special love in his and his family’s life that he could never have forseen at the time. God’s gifts are sometimes not appreciated at first for what they really are, and can sometimes be considered as misfortune at first. God does work in mysterious ways beyond the ken of human reason, space and time.

  • Joseph

    That’s an awesome story, Bristol! Happy Birthday Jon!!! And I wish you many more happy years to come! God bless you!

  • blackbird

    At the 46:00 mark of the Governor’s speech at Faulkner University, Montgomery, Alabama – October 7 2010 – Sarah tells the story of John Mark Stallings “…that has a very special and personal meaning to me (Sarah)…”

    At the 55:12 mark “…John Mark received an honorary diploma from Dallas Christian High school and Abilene Christian University gave him their change the world award, he was made an honorary marine, he proudly represented Texas in the International Special Olympics… you see I am looking forward for this kind of stuff for my son…” You must see the video, please take a look for your self.

  • kate

    Great pic and a great story – well done. I really like your blog Miss Bristol.

  • What a true blessing! Love it!

  • huntingmoose

    actually, life expectancy with proper medical attention is well in the 60-70’s and if medical research and progress will continue and not stifled, these numbers will likely continue to go up.

  • blueniner

    Great post Bristol. You would think George Will would be more in simpatico with your Mom with common issues, instead of being a critic of hers. For a man of elite intellegence, how can he be so wrong on a savy, wise, American Patriot, such as Sarah Palin

  • That was a great story Bristol and look foward to many more and there wont be unless U and Your Ma take the bull by the horns,U Betcha…

  • MouseFanSal

    Let’s remind people that democrats’ human flaws, faux pas, and gaffes (ome big) are completely ignored by the media. Comedians don’t feel free to use innocent people as fodder for sick jokes. The beginning of “Undefeated” shows how crass the media is. I will say it again. If Obama were woman OR republican, he would be no higher in career than someone’s assistant or intern. THAT is basically what this post is.

    I remember back then. Crazy goons felt need to stalk every people who could possibly be connected to Sarah Palin and create these little fantasy worlds filled with exaggeration and outright lies. Sure, this happens to everyone in the media, but last I checked, people who work at TMZ aren’t exactly respected and theyve been mocked and punkd by celebrities.

    There is far more hate on sites run by liberals then anywhere else. Yes, some rightwing indep blogs contain similar comments, but people take great pains to push aside the nastiness at liberal blogs and hate gossip sites.

    Here’s some insight: you can ridicule, criticize and attack all you want libs. That doesn’t erase your victims happiness. It just makes you look petty.Sarah has always had a strong, close family. No liberal’s stupidity will change that, despite their stalking and best efforts in perpetuating double standards.

  • Margaret Benton

    A few weeks ago our Pastor gave a birthday party for one special man in our church, John H. I had never seen or known where someone was celebrated just for simply being there, but he loves church, imitates much he sees… and struts and looks about when he goes to the altar to pray, he, setting the example we all should be doing… going to pray! I usually don’t enjoy many of these “after church” things, but this was great. There was decorations, cake, ice cream, pizza, and other things he likes to eat. The atmosphere was so loving… And this dear man came to table after table thanking everyone for coming and for the gifts he was given.