Friday, June 13, 2014
I just got an email from the Jérôme LeJeune Foundation reminding me that today would have been the 88th birthday of Servant of God Jérôme LeJeune. In 1958, Dr. LeJeune discovered that Down syndrome is caused by an extra copy of the 21st chromosome; he later established the first specialized clinic for Down syndrome patients in Paris, and discovered the cause of cri-du-chat syndrome, 2 other trisomies, and helped us understand fragile X syndrome.
Dr. LeJeune was also passionately devoted to protecting the lives of the vulnerable subjects of his research. Among other things, he was first president of the Pontifical Academy for Life. His cause for sainthood is being postulated by the Abbey of Saint Wandrille in France.
In celebration of the life of the man some consider the patron saint of people with Down syndrome, I offer links to:
- a lovely "rare" interview with Dr. LeJeune in English (with an interesting account of the cost-benefit analysis of preserving the lives of people with Down Syndrome); and
- the website of what looks like a fantastic new movie featuring a young man with Down Syndrome, Produce . (Too bad it doesn't star Angelina Jolie... but I challenge you to watch the trailer and not try to find a local showing!)