Wednesday 7 December 2016

Dad pens emotional letter to his daughter with Down Syndrome on her wedding day: 'We live for moments such as these’

Published 04/09/2015 | 12:39

Photo: Crystal Slaughter Photography www.crystalslaughterphotography.com
Photo: Crystal Slaughter Photography www.crystalslaughterphotography.com
Paul pictured with Jillian. Photo: Twitter Paul Daugherty
Jillian pictured with her husband Ryan her father Paul and her mother as well as Ryan's parents on her wedding day. Photo: Twitter Paul Daugherty
Paul pictured with Jillian. Photo: Twitter Paul Daugherty

A father’s letter to his daughter on her wedding day has touched people around the world after he expressed his pride that she had “beaten the odds” presented to her by Down Syndrome

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Paul Daugherty (57), a Cincinnati sports journalist, wrote a letter to his daughter Jillian (25) on the morning of her wedding as he prepared to walk her down the aisle.

"In two hours, you will take the walk of a lifetime, a stroll made more memorable by what you’ve achieved to get to this day,” he wrote in a letter published on The Mighty.

“I don’t know what the odds are of a woman born with Down Syndrome marrying the love of her life. I only know you’ve beaten them.”

Jillian, who works in the athletic department in Northern Kentucky University, married her long-term boyfriend Ryan Mavriplis (27) this summer.

“I am outside, beneath the window, staring up,” Paul wrote.

Jillian pictured with her husband Ryan her father Paul and her mother as well as Ryan's parents on her wedding day. Photo: Twitter Paul Daugherty
Jillian pictured with her husband Ryan her father Paul and her mother as well as Ryan's parents on her wedding day. Photo: Twitter Paul Daugherty
Photo: Crystal Slaughter Photography www.crystalslaughterphotography.com
Paul pictured with Jillian. Photo: Twitter Paul Daugherty
Paul pictured with Jillian. Photo: Twitter Paul Daugherty

“We live for moments such as these, when hopes and dreams intersect at a sweet spot in time. When everything we’ve always imagined arrives and assumes a perfect clarity. Bliss is possible. I know this now, standing beneath that window.

“I have everything and nothing to tell you,” the dad wrote.

Read more: Brendan O'Connor: Happy birthday to my baby girl Mary

The dad revealed that he and his wife often worried about Jillian making friends and finding someone to love during her childhood and teenage years.

“What we couldn’t do was make other kids like you. Accept you, befriend you, stand with you in the vital social arena,” he wrote.

“We thought, "What’s a kid’s life, if it isn’t filled with sleepovers and birthday parties and dates to the prom?"”

Read more: Blood test for Down's syndrome may cut the risk of miscarriage

However, when a boy Jillian had met during soccer practice asked her to a school dance, Paul revealed he was thrilled.

On a perfect day, these two wed under the beautiful canopy of a nature preserve surrounded by the love of family and friends.

Posted by Crystal Slaughter Photography on Tuesday, 14 July 2015

“A decade ago, when a young man walked to our door wearing a suit and bearing a corsage made of cymbidium orchids said, “I’m here to take your daughter to the homecoming, sir," every fear I ever had about your life being incomplete vanished,” Paul remembered.

“Now, you and Ryan are taking a different walk together. It’s a new challenge, but it’s no more daunting for you than anyone else,' he added.

 “Given who you are, it might be less so. Happiness comes easily to you. As does your ability to make happiness for others.

“I see you now. The prep work has been done, the door swings open. My little girl, all in white, crossing the threshold of yet another conquered dream.

"I stand breathless and transfixed, utterly in the moment. “You look beautiful" is the best I can do,” he finished.

Paul pictured with Jillian. Photo: Twitter Paul Daugherty
Paul pictured with Jillian. Photo: Twitter Paul Daugherty
Photo: Crystal Slaughter Photography www.crystalslaughterphotography.com
Jillian pictured with her husband Ryan her father Paul and her mother as well as Ryan's parents on her wedding day. Photo: Twitter Paul Daugherty
Paul pictured with Jillian. Photo: Twitter Paul Daugherty

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