While Iceland has, much to the horror of many, bragged about eliminating Down syndrome in their country through abortion, Italy accepted and honored a heroic teen with the condition, despite his disability.
The incident took place at the Sabaudia Beach in Italy—just an hour’s drive south of Rome—on July 12, 2017.
The two girls, aged 10 and 14, cried for help as they struggled to stay afloat in the deep blue sea.
Luckily, Valerio Catoia, a 17-year-old teen with Down syndrome, and his father heard their cries and sprang into action.
Catoia, who has been swimming since the age of 3 and has participated in the Special Olympics, quickly dove into the sea. He swam toward the young girl who “started to go down but then re-emerged,” according to the Republic.
Being a strong swimmer, Catoia successfully reached out to the younger girl and carried her back to shore. The older girl was pulled to safety as well before lifeguards showed up to administer first aid.
The heroic rescue soon made the headlines in Italy. The Italians embraced the teen with Down syndrome and lauded him as a national hero for saving the girl’s life.
Italian Minister of Sporting Luca Lotti even hosted Catoia and awarded him the “Solidarity Champion of Italy.”
Former Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said that Italy should feel proud having a citizen like Catoia.
Bravo, Catoia! And kudos to the citizens of Italy for singing praises for Catoia.
Remember, we should never define a person by their disability. People with Down syndrome are wonderful individuals who can excel in school and work. They can live independently and make a difference—like what Catoia did—if given the opportunity.
Down’s Syndrome Twins Are One In A Million