When you love someone, the thought of others picking on them or needlessly hurting their feelings simply doesn’t sit well.
It’s why parents take such a steadfast stance when their children are being bullied, or why children themselves often staunchly defend siblings.
But it’s fair to say not many people have had to defend their own fathers from bullying before. Well, Richie Ann Castillo, a young woman in Cebu City, the Philippines knows exactly what that’s like.
Castillo’s Facebook post in June, aimed at celebrating her father’s 50th birthday, went viral, both for the heartfelt appreciation of her words and for the fact she stuck it to all the bullies who have attempted to get her down over the years.
You see, Castillo’s father has Down’s syndrome, meaning he’s dealt with a host of issues over the years, both health related and when it comes to how he’s perceived by society.
“Dear, Dad,” Castillo wrote. “Today marks a very special and very miraculous moment of your life. You turn 50 today and I am so blessed that you continue to live such a long and beautiful life. Doctors are still amazed by it!
“I know you won’t be able to read this because I don’t know if you have Facebook, but I want the whole world to know how proud I am that you are my dad. I want the whole world to know how beautiful you are inside and out.”
Castillo went on to explain how she’s been targeted over the years because of her father’s condition. She was mocked and bullied when she was young, and even admitted to having been ashamed when she got to a certain age, trying to distance herself from her father to escape the bullying.
Castillo’s now an adult, though, and knows better. With her post, she wanted everyone to know that she has nothing but pride for her dad.
“I understood this later on and it made me a coward. But you deserve more than the coward daughter that I am. You deserve love, understanding, patience and acceptance as any individual with Down syndrome should. Here I am composing a birthday greeting to you because I’ve never done such a thing. You deserve so much more.“
She continued: “Dad, no amount of words can sum up to how sorry I am for being an absent daughter. I’m sorry for not bringing you to the beach more often or I don’t bring you your favorite dimsum [sic] food or I don’t visit you more often than I should. If there is one thing I regret, it is hiding you from my life because I’m still the same little kid who was afraid of getting bullied. But I love you more than you could ever know, Dad and I am inspired by you always.”
Needless to say, Castillo’s sentiments proved a huge hit on social media, where they were shared 67,000 times in just a few days. The world was quick to praise Castillo for her honesty, reassuring her that she was doing the right thing.
Indeed, Richie Ann, we couldn’t be prouder of you, and we’re sure your dad is too!
Thousands of people are born every day with conditions that make them stand out from the norm. These people are no different from the rest of us, and they deserve the love and respect afforded to us all.
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