Filipina with Down’s syndrome honored at White House Special Olympics dinner

By Don Tagala, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

Aug. 1, 2014

WASHINGTON DC – Proudly wearing a red Terno, 17-year-old Filipina with Down Syndrome, Brina Kei Maxino is one of President Obama’s invited guests at the White House Special Olympics dinner, Thursday night.

Obama recognized Maxino’s historic participation at a recent Special Olympics Summit.

Obama said, “Brina Kei Maxino represented the Asia Pacific region, at the Asia Pacific Global Youth Activation Summit when she was 16-years-old, she is the first Filipina and the first teenager with Down Syndrome to do so.”

While Maxino is making history now, that was not the case when she born 17 years ago. Her doctor and therapist had very low expectations for Brina. Her psychologist even thought she would find it hard to finish grade school, according to SpecialOlympics.org.

But Brina never gave up.

She’s now in fourth year high school. She passed every single level without failing grades. She even worked as a part-time office assistant using her computer skills.

“Many people in the Philippines do not know about special kids like me, they are scared of us, they ridicule us, they bully us,” said Maxino. “I do all the campaign and organize unified fitness activities to these people – to respect us, to accept us, and to love us.”

Brina even had the honor of introducing one of Obama’s special celebrity guests — pop star Katy Perry – a supporter of Special Olympians.

“You are changing the country and now I am changing mine, we are creating the language of a unified generation and at this moment, please give a warm applause to our favorite and amazing artist and voice of unified generation, Miss Katy Perry,” said Brina.

The president also gave special recognition to a special Olympian who owns a restaurant in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

The president even asked for a big hug from Tim Harris.

Tim approached Obama and said, “I love you Obama!”

Obama said, “I love you back.”

“See, presidents needs some encouragements once in a while too” Crowd laughs. “I felt really good, that was nice. Thank you Tim,” Obama said.
 
You may contact Don Tagala at don_tagala@abs-cbn.com for more information.

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