You'll Love This Dad's Letter to His Daughter With Down Syndrome on Her Wedding Day

September 4th 2015

Laura Donovan

On the day of her wedding, Cincinnati Enquirer sports columnist Paul Daugherty wrote a powerful letter to his 25-year-old daughter Jillian, who has Down syndrome and married Ryan, who she's known for 10 years.

Daugherty recently shared this touching letter on The Mighty, a news site that promotes uplifting and inspiring stories. Many people were brought to tears by his words of wisdom for his child.

Daugherty penned the letter to Jillian as she was getting ready for the ceremony. He started off the piece by expressing his pride in his daughter for marrying the love of her life against the odds.

"I don’t know what the odds are of a woman born with Down syndrome marrying the love of her life," he wrote. "I only know you’ve beaten them... We live for moments such as these, when hopes and dreams intersect at a sweet spot in time."

He went on to say he was worried about how Jillian would fit in with her peers growing up but that he was wrong to be concerned since she fared so well in social settings:

"You’re a natural when it comes to socializing. They called you The Mayor in elementary school, for your ability to engage everyone. You danced on the junior varsity dance team in high school. You spent four years attending college classes and made lifelong impressions on everyone you met. Do you remember all the stuff they said you’d never do, Jills? You wouldn’t ride a two-wheeler or play sports. You wouldn’t go to college. You certainly wouldn’t get married. Now… look at you."

Daughtery wrapped up the piece by saying marriage is a "challenge" but that it won't be any more of a challenge for Jillian than others who tie the knot, "[I]t’s no more daunting for you than anyone else. Given who you are, it might be less so. Happiness comes easily to you. As does your ability to make happiness for others."

According to Philadelphia ABC affiliate WPVI-TV, Daughter said Jillian's wedding had nearly 130 guests and "every single one of them had helped Jillian get to that day."

"It was magical," he said. "It really does take a village, especially when you're talking about a child with a disability. Those who have taken the time to SEE Jillian, rather than simply LOOK at her, have benefited from the relationship, and rewarded with a lifetime friend. Do not look at my daughter, and define her by her appearance. See her, and allow her to define herself. "

Daugherty took to Twitter to share photos of his daughter and promote his memoir about her, "An Uncomplicated Life."