REYKJAVÍK, Iceland — A St. Louis mom and daughter are back from a trip to Iceland. It wasn’t a vacation but rather a chance to change some minds.
Mary Suzanne Crockett said she found out women across the Atlantic are rejecting children who could grow up to be like her child. Lilly is 20 years old and has Down Syndrome.
Lilly is a former homecoming queen at Ladue High School, likes to surf, dances on a team and also has a job. Now, she can add international Down Syndrome advocate to the list.
Lilly, her mom and sister just returned from Iceland, where they were on a mission to show how Down Syndrome didn’t stop Lilly from success.
“Tell the people of Iceland that people with Down Syndrome deserve to live. They are amazing people who live fulfilling lives,” Mary said.
Doctors in Iceland are required to tell women about prenatal screening tests that look for chromosomal disorders. The vast majority of Icelandic mothers—99 percent—who receive a positive test for Down Syndrome end their pregnancy, Mary said.
The same tests are available in the U.S., but fewer women here take them, and a smaller percentage—about 67 percent—end their pregnancy after the positive test.
The Crocketts met with about 150 people during their six-day trip, including the genetic counselor of Iceland. Mary said their message was simple.
“However you are delivering this news to these mothers, I hope you will remember my face and this joy that this daughter brought to me. I hope you will remember that with others who have this diagnosis, it’s a wonderful life.”
They also got inside the offices of the Iceland newspaper. A reporter did a positive story on their stance.
“The message in the article is that the diagnosis is not the definition of a lifetime, and this is a life worthy of respect and worthy of being a member of the community,” Mary said.
The Iceland paper goes to nearly every household in the country.
Take a look at the family's Icelandic mission by watching the video in the player below.