MEMPHIS, Tenn.– Every year in the U.S., 6,000 children are born with Down Syndrome. In the Mid-South, many thrive because of the care they received at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital.
In Palestine, Arkansas, for the almost eleven years of Xzavier Gould’s life, the one thing his mom Stephanie and stepfather Parick Webb have never taught their son, who has Down Syndrome, is that he might not be able to do certain things in life.
“He functions at such a high level that we sometimes forget that he has down syndrome,” Patrick said. “The key point to that is we don’t teach him that he has it and gives God a chance to operate in his life.”
Xzavier’s life is filled with the love of his family, church, and Jesus. If asked, he’ll even sing one of his favorite hymns for you.
When he’s not singing, he’ll proudly take you on of tour of his room to show off his computer. He loves using his computer, playing puzzle games on his iPad, showing pictures of his family, and taking care of their new German Shepard puppy named Bella.
It’s hard not to love Xzavier. His mom will tell you he’s a special young boy diagnosed with Down Syndrome shortly after he was born.
“I was fearful at first. My family…we never had anyone in our family with special needs. This has been a learning beautiful experience knowing that we rely on him getting the health care that he needs,” Stephanie said.
Xzavier’s health needs would require surgery to close a hole in his heart.
“When we came to Le Bonheur when he went to the doctor for a checkup, they found out that the holes had not closed. This was very scary at first,” his mother said.
The Webbs say Le Bonheur was there every step of Xzavier’s journey to fix his heart.
“Le Bonheur really gave us the support, the knowledge, and understanding that we needed. The care was just excellent,” Stephanie said.
As the Webbs traveled back and forth between Arkansas and Memphis for ear, nose, and throat checkups, they were able to stay at the FedExFamily House on Poplar Avenue.
“Not to mention the FedEx house…it provided us and let us know how much Le Bonheur is there for us and not only is there for him, but they care for families,” Patrick said.
The extraordinary care of Xzavier already has him planning his future. When asked what he wants to be when he grows up, he said he wants to be a policeman. His mother said he has other hopes for the future as well.
“He wants to go to college. He wants to have a wife. He wants to have his own house. He wants to make his own choices. I support that. I see him living a normal life,” Stephanie said.
“With his diagnosis, I’m just seeing things that he’s doing that he’s not ‘supposed to be doing’ and that’s an inspiration to me and it builds my faith,” Patrick said.
The faith of Xzavier knows no boundaries because of God and Le Bonheur.
“I love to love everybody else and thank you Le Bonheur for helping me from my heart, and from my throat and to my ears,” Xzavier said.