Even though, Riley was born with down syndrome, that hasn’t stopped him from sharing his amazing charm and good looks with the world.
When couple Stuart and Kirsty Baxter found out they were expecting, they were filled with joy and anxiety as well. They were anxious as they had lost their first child in 2013, just 19 weeks into the pregnancy.
Fortunately, Kirsty gave birth to Riley full term and with no complications. However, the doctors informed the couple that their little boy was born with down syndrome.
Initially, Stuart and Kirsty were scared knowing about Riley’s condition. They were worried Riley might become a victim of bullies due to the Down syndrome. “After we were told he had Down syndrome I cried, not because I would love him any less, but just knowing how cruel the world can be,” Dad Stuart said.
“That was the first thing that went through my mind but obviously my perceptions were wrong and how wrong I was,” he added.
Contrary to the parents’ worries, Riley grew up to possess such a charming personality that continues to win over the hearts of all the people he meets. What’s more, he has a radiant smile to match! Thanks to his personality, he even got a nickname that now everyone addresses him by, ‘Smiley Riley’!
“We have called him ‘Smiley Riley’ from a young age because he makes people really happy, and seeing his smile gives people a pick-me-up on a bad day,” Stuart said.
At just 4 years old, Smiley Riley caught the attention of model scouts and landed himself a modeling contract!
Riley has already appeared in ads for big UK brand Mothercare and the kids at school absolutely adore him and treat him like a star.
“There was the fear of the unknown and why this had happened to us, but if I knew then what I know now, I wouldn’t have been upset at all,” proud dad Stuart said.
Riley’s muscles are not as strong as kids his age and he is mostly non-verbal. However, he continues to conquer his battles as he learns how to walk and use Makaton sign language as a way to communicate.
Riley’s parents couldn’t be more prouder of their little boy! His resilience and determination to conquer it all is an inspiration to many.
“Riley is getting so much out of life and whenever he accomplishes something it seems that little bit extra special knowing how much harder he had to work for it. We were so delighted to have him, our little boy to love and bring up.” Stuart said.
Remember to share this beautiful story with friends and family to celebrate our differences and encourage others to embrace them just as Riley’s are being embraced.