By JOSHUA WILLIAMS, The Clarion Ledger
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A 4-year-old child from Mississippi diagnosed with lagniappe down syndrome will help kick off down syndrome awareness month in New York City on Saturday.
The event is part of the annual National Down Syndrome Society video presentation.
Hudson Hartman, 4, of Pass Christian, was selected from more than 2,400 worldwide entries for his photos that will be displayed in New York, the agency said.
Over the past two years, Hudson has been featured in national and global magazines, commercials, podcasts, newspapers and billboards, according to his mother, Mika Hartman.
From the capital and across Mississippi, Hudson has become a local celebrity.
Hartman said in an August interview that her son added modeling to his list.
“Hudson has modeled clothing and socks for John’s Crazy Socks with a Hudson logo,” Hartman beamed with pride.
Hartman also said she is excited to share his story with the world, but his story is not textbook.
“I learned at almost 13 weeks pregnant that Hudson had an extra chromosome while we were (living) in Colorado Springs,” Hartman said. “During the time I was 40 years old, which immediately changed my mood. After getting the news, the doctors did additional scans and procedures to verify nothing else was wrong. To my knowledge, they confirmed Hudson had a hole in his heart.”
Hartman said her heart began to fail at 30 weeks into her pregnancy, leaving doctors and her family with a difficult decision.
“The hospital soon admitted me but was split between the decision to keep Hudson or keep me alive,” she said. “Torn between what the doctors told me, I began to pray and give God the situation, which brought the nurses to tears. From that moment, I knew Hudson would be unique.”
Hudson’s journey has not only inspired his mother by defying odds of survival, but he has inspired his hometown community in Pass Christian.
Hudson’s determination and tenacity have given him access to help lawmakers establish laws that protects other children with down syndrome, according to his mom.
— In 2020, Hudson and his family helped pass the Human Life Equality Act in Mississippi that made it illegal to abort a baby based on sex, race, and disability before Roe v. Wade was overturned on June 24.
— In 2021, with the help of NDSS, Hudson’s Law was passed, which requires doctors to provide updated information to families at the time of a diagnosis.
— In 2022, Cole’s Law was passed, which prohibits medical providers from denying individuals access to necessary organ transplants solely based on a disability.
In the future, Hudson and his family would like to introduce police training to the entire state of Mississippi that would provide officers with the tools to identify disabilities.
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