Monday, July 14, 2008

Lily - our front page newspaper star!

We picked up our local weekly free paper expecting we would have to search carefully through it to find a short article on the money the Down Syndrome Association had been awarded. Instead there was Lily beaming at us from the cover.

It’s a great photo and article (although I'm not a psychaitrist as it says!), so I’ve copied it all here apart from the bit that explains what Down syndrome is – I think you all know that!
The writing on the photo is where Lily took it to church and got people to write their congratulations on it for her!

Lily has her heart set on ‘a proper job’

When Lily Harper gets to heaven she’s got a few questions for God.
“Why did you make me short? That’s the number one question.”
Second, why does God create people with Down syndrome?

Lily, 19, in her final year at Awatapu College is one of three Harper siblings with Down syndrome.
While aware she faces challenges in her daily life, Lily is no moaning minnie and is “proud to be me”.
She also has faith.
I love God, he’s pretty cool ‘cause he made all of us and the light.”
She enjoys learning and says school’s more important to her than other people as she has more to learn.
“I really love school and I don’t know why we have holidays as I get upset ….school’s gone.”
Her favourite subject is drama and one day she hopes to make a movie or appear on stage. She’s already had filming experience, featuring on TV One’s Attitude programme last month.
A great Harry Potter fan, at school Lily is acting in a scene from one of JK Rowling’s books and has appeared in an Awatapu Stage challenge entry.
“I’m really obsessed over Harry Potter.”

Lily knows soon she’ll have to make decisions about her future, but is adamant she wants a “proper job”. She floats the idea of moving to Auckland, “so I cna chill out, go to Nandos (favourite restaurant)”, but then decides she wants to attend All Saint’s Anglican Church for the rest of her life.
Through Awatupu, Lily works at farmers unpacking lingerie, at a kindergarten and at a hotel as a housekeeper.

Born in the UK, Lily was adopted by Paul and Angela Harper when she was small. The Harper’s, a haematologist and a psychiatrist respectively already had children of their own, but wanted to make a difference. Lily was 9 when the family moved to New Zealand. Noah, 8, the Harper’s biological child has Down syndrome and the couple later adopted Isaac, also with the syndrome who is now 2.
Lily says “heaps of people” call her “handicapped”.
“I just hate it when they say that.”
She says her shortness is really annoying especially when opponents kick the soccer ball over her head.
“I just can’t believe it when they do that.”
Her goal before she leaves school is to be able to read a bit.
A great conversationalist who quickly put this reporter at ease, Lily has always been able to read people well, Mrs. Harper says.

The Harpers are members of the Palmerston North based New Zealand Down Syndrome Association. It has received $13,930 from Sovereign Sunshine for a project that aims to help young people with the syndrome plan for the transition from school.
Mrs Harper says the project will give Lily the opportunity to meet other young people, share ideas, and to think through her options.

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