Dad writes tear-jerking letter to his newlywed daughter with Down syndrome

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Paul Daugherty of Cincinnati wanted to make sure that his daughter Jillian knew she was loved on her wedding day.

Jillian is a 26-year-old with Down Syndrome, and on June 27, she married her longtime sweetheart, Ryan, but she didn't walk down the aisle before reading a heartwarming letter from her dad.

Paul Daugherty told ABC News, "Everything that's in that letter I've already said to her before." He recalls the feelings that rushed in when Jillian was born.

"When you have a child with a disabilities, all you want to hear for the first few days is that everything's going to be OK. We didn't have that," he said. "We had people telling us all the things Jillian could not do and we threw all of that in the trash."

The letter read:

In two hours, you will take the walk of a lifetime, a stroll made more memorable by what you've achieved to get to this day. I don't know what the odds are of a woman born with Down syndrome marrying the love of her life. I only know you've beaten them. What we couldn't do was make other kids like you. Accept you, befriend you, stand with you in the vital social arena. We thought, What's a kid's life, if it isn't filled with sleepovers and birthday parties and dates to the prom?

I worried about you then. I cried deep inside on the night when you were 12 and you came downstairs to declare, "I don't have any friends.''

We all wish the same things for our children. Health, happiness and a keen ability to engage and enjoy the world are not only the province of typical kids. Their pursuit is every child's birthright. I worried about your pursuit, Jillian.

I shouldn't have. 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...


Paul added that the wedding day was "something out of a fairytale."

See the video below for new information about testing for Down syndrome:

Genetics Expert on New Down's Syndrome Test

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