Everyday, people with disabilities blow the world away with their capacity for love. Just ask teens Ciera and Connor. These two BFFs have a friendship that has warmed the hearts of thousands.
Connor was born with Down Syndrome and Ciera developed a one-of-a-kind gene mutation that led to severe cognitive issues. But instead of seeing their conditions as holding them back in life, these two tackle every single day with a smile and so much joy.
But the journey has not always been easy.
While she was in the third grade, Ciera started having severe seizures. Those episodes, eventually led to brain damage that kept her brain in a permanent state of third grade-level cognition.
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As the months and years went on, the vibrant little girl started being isolated by her peers who didn’t understand why she wasn’t maturing in the same way they were.
In her mom, Carissa‘s words to Love What Matters:
We soon found the invites to stay the night ceased and the birthday party invitations stopped coming. My heart and spirit were broken. Although she was still always SO HAPPY, she was still alone.
As high school approached, her parents felt so worried that she’d feel lonely the entire time. Luckily, however, fate had something amazing in store.
While in one of her special education classes, Ciera met Connor, a boy with Down Syndrome.
For many many many years I prayed that one day God would give my daughter someone whom saw her as the treasure she truly was. For a long time she struggled with her place in this world and to finding true friendship.
[Connor] swooped in and saved her from living life alone, to being a part of togetherness and love. Down syndrome had nothing on Connor, and he quickly latched onto Ciera and the friendship grew fast and feverishly!
She began to FLOURISH!
The love that Connor has for Ciera is exactly what I prayed for. He is constantly complimenting her, checking in on her to make sure everyone was being kind, and when she is sick, her worries obsessively over her.
To make things even better, Connor brought along his group of friends… all boys of course! All whom have the same love for Ciera as Connor does! They fight over who gets to sit next to her. They get mad if one of them is not nice to her. They ADORE her! And it’s all because of Connor.
But, as prom approached one year, it was revealed that Ciera would need surgery to remedy her severe scoliosis. The dance was out of the question.
Ciera was devastated, but Connor knew just how to cheer her up.
The day before Connor brought over a basket full of her favorite things. He played games with her to help keep her mind off of things and even teared up as he left. He was overwhelmed with stress and worry for his friend.
The day of her surgery, their teacher reached out to me and asked as soon she was out of surgery to please let her know because “Ciera’s boys” were so worried they weren’t getting any work done!
Because she couldn’t make it to prom that year, a plan was hatched to make this year’s prom AMAZING.
The plan for Ciera and Connor to attend together was a NO BRAINER!
The Prom dress shopping began and Connor anxiously awaited putting on his tux. We had to be sure we got the “perfect shade of pink” for her nails and since heels are out of the question – a sparkly pair of Converse did the trick!
When picture time came, you could just see the sparkle in Connor’s eyes. He. Was. SMITTEN!
Always the gentleman, Connor not only opened her car door but also said he’d take Ciera wherever she wanted for dinner. She chose her favorite restaurant, Chick-Fil-A. Then finally they made their way to the dance.
During the dance I was FLOODED with messages and texts from all the Senior girls about how much fun they were having with Connor and Ciera! They were indeed the stars of the show! The non-stop dancing, talking and Ciera’s favorite “the teeny tiny cupcakes” made it a night they will never forget!
Her little girl was thriving in the way she’d always deserved.
In the end, Mom says it best:
I am pretty sure neither one of them stopped smiling all night long. Connor and Ciera are the epitome of ‘Love is patient, love is kind,’ and this world needs more of this.
If this story made your heart nearly burst, be sure to share the inspiring wealth with everyone you love! No matter who you are, you are deserving of more love than you know what to do with. Fortunately for Connor and Ciera, they’ve found that in their families and in each other!
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