Central Texas Man With Down Syndrome Thrives

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BELTON (October 7, 2012)--Those who know 57-year-old Curtis "Bubba" Knight say he has made an impact on everyone he's met, especially his family.

"Bubba" is funny, charming, inspirational and so much more.

To his family, he's anything but someone with Down syndrome.

"He's a tremendous gift from God," said Marjorie Knight, Bubba's mother.

"God gave him to us to take care of, and we tried our best to do that."

Bubba's parents, Bill and Marjorie Knight have been taking care of their son for the past 57 years.

"They've taken care of Bubba since he was born when people said they shouldn't," said Sandra Rourke, Bubba's sister.

Advocates for Down syndrome awareness say too many people do not understand Down syndrome and the special needs for those who have it.

Down syndrome usually occurs when a child has an extra copy of chromosome 21.

The extra chromosome causes problems with the way the body and brain develop, often causing mental and social issues.

Through it all, Bubba has made an incredible impact on the entire Knight Family.

"He's the oldest of five, and we're a very close knit family, so he has been an inspiration to us," said Gary Knight, the youngest sibling.

Advocates for children with special needs say reminding the children about their uniqueness and talents is very important to their lives and well-being.

"That's one of the things our children need to know: to celebrate them as people and not their disabilities," said Gwen Tanner, founder of Downs But Not Out, a support group for parents of children with special needs.

Downs But Not Out sponsors an awareness walk every year to celebrate the special needs children.

More than 200 people gathered on a chilly Sunday afternoon to walk around the Heritage Park Trail, play carnival games, eat barbeque and share information about special needs children.