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A Mum Posted to Find Friends for 24-yo Son with Down Syndrome–the Flood of Support Shocked Her

Christian Bowers has Down Syndrome, but likes to do normal guy stuff like go bowling and play video games.

Making friends was never hard for the young man, now 24, until he finished school and found, as many people without Down Syndrome do for that matter, it’s not as easy and straightforward to maintain a social life.

Bowers’ mother, Donna Herter, watched her son sink further and further into the dumps because he didn’t have any friends to visit him.

Eventually, Herter put up a post on Facebook asking if any local guys near Rochester, Minnesota, would be interested in coming to hang out with Christian for two hours, a service for which she was willing to offer $80,00 in compensation.

A nurse on the night shift, she put the post up at 4:00 AM before ending her workday and going to sleep. When she woke up, it had amassed 5,000 comments.

“I was freaking out. My hands were shaking, I was sweating. I was just looking for some local guys, I didn’t want to invite like the entire world into our house,” she told CBS News.

Her friends encouraged her to calm down and take a closer look at the comments, in which she found parents offering suggestions and others volunteering to help.

She eventually found 7 fellows from Wentzville, Minnesota, who visit Christian once a week on a rotating schedule. Herter says her son goes to sleep with a smile on his face now, and is excited about life in general, and of the future as well.

Friendships are important for people born with Down Syndrome, and associations urge parents to plan for the eventuality of their child exiting school and needing to take a more precise attitude towards socialising.

Christian occasionally attends gatherings and groups of other special needs men and women his age, but craves friendship with the rest of the population as well.

“And I’ve never asked him, but I assume because it kind of makes him feel normal, just for an hour or two. ‘Hey, somebody who doesn’t have Down syndrome wants to hang out with me,’” she said.

One of the 7 friends, James Hasting, said he felt terrible that Herter had reached the point where she was trying to pay people to visit her son. Hasting, who volunteers with special needs folks, said hanging out just for a few hours to watch a movie or play video games with Christian has changed the way he looks at the world.

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