Doctors wanted to institutionalize a girl with Down syndrome; 15 years later, she’s a top model

Celebrating diversity and differences among people should be a given, regardless of the country or society you live in.

After all, how boring would the world be if everyone looked and acted the same? If you’re stuck, the answer is “very boring.”

In recent years, efforts have been made to promote inclusion in a variety of settings. Sure, some areas have had more success than others, but the overall message is clear: just because someone isn’t “the norm,” they aren’t any less capable of amazing things.

Just ask Kennedy Garcia, a newborn who was advised by doctors to be committed to an institution. Kennedy, from Colorado Springs, Colorado, has Down syndrome, and her mother was told by doctors that she would have a low quality of life as a result, according to Metro.

They feared she would have to wear diapers as an adult and that it would be better for her health if she was placed in a specialized institution.

Renee, Kennedy’s mother, chose to kick them all out of the hospital room. She wasn’t about to abandon her child, and time has shown her to be wiser than all the doctors who advised her.

In the present day, Kennedy has competed in state-wide dance competitions and modeled for top American brands. She also fought cancer, overcoming leukemia with an iron will and unwavering bravery.

“The night Kennedy arrived, I was heartbroken to learn she had the condition because I was being fed nothing but a negative, bleak picture painted by doctors and nurses who really had no idea what my child‘s future really held.” Renee told Metro.

“It was only the next night when a kind midwife told me Kennedy was beautiful and just like her daughter, who also had the condition, that I felt a glimmer of hope.”

“The first thing I asked was if her daughter could walk, because I really didn’t know what having the condition meant, and she just laughed. Her daughter was 16 and of course she could walk.”

Kennedy has certainly demonstrated that obstacles exist to be overcome. The teen has modeled for American Girl and Justice Clothing, and she is represented by KMR Diversity and Dream Talent Management.

She travels to Hollywood and New York on a regular basis to audition for modeling jobs, but she also enjoys spending time with her boyfriend, Matthew, who also has Down syndrome.

Renee has only one opinion about the doctors who wanted Kennedy institutionalized.

“It’s shocking how misinformed they all were, and it was only 15 years ago,” she said. “I feel sad that I wasted time grieving for moments like prom dress shopping as I really had been led to believe none of the normal milestones would be reached.”

Renee and Kennedy now spend time touring schools, educating children of all ages about Down syndrome and how they can help people with the condition they meet. Kennedy herself is quickly gaining a social media following, with nearly 70,000 followers on Instagram.

“We’re all incredibly proud of her and everything she’s achieved,” Renee explained to Metro. “She’s a wonderful girl and we are all so lucky to have her in our lives.”