Life
Man with down syndrome celebrates 77 years of life
Kenny Cridge has lived a long life. He has lived 17 years past the average life span of people with Down syndrome and is hoping for many more.
Khadija Bilal
09.02.19

Down syndrome occurs in around every one in 1,000 births, and there are over 5.4 million people living with Down syndrome around the world, according to the latest statistics. It’s a syndrome that is widely misunderstood, as many people with Down syndrome can lead perfectly normal lives, graduating from school and getting jobs, but life with Down syndrome does come with a lot of challenges too. Lots of individuals with the condition have much lower life expectancies than those without, but this man proved that it’s possible to live to a very old age!

Kenny Cridge has entered the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s oldest man with Down syndrome.

Despite being given a life expectancy of just 12, Kenny defied the odds to celebrate his 77th birthday!

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Kenny was born alongside his twin sister, Dorothy, back in 1939.

He was actually believed to be stillborn at first, and the doctors left him to the side while tending to Dorothy, but then they suddely heard him cry, so he’s been beating the odds from the very first day of his life.

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When Kenny was born, doctors estimated he wouldn’t live beyond the age of 12.

Back then, far less was known about Down syndrome. People didn’t understand the condition as well as they do now, and those born with the disorder couldn’t get the care they needed.

Fortunately, Kenny managed to live far beyond his 12th year.

He outlived his sister, who died several years ago. Then, in 2008, he entered the Guinnes Book of Records as the oldest living man with Down syndrome.

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Kenny spent much of his life living with his mother, who looked after him before passing away.

After that, he moved in with his nephew for a little while before moving to a care home, where he can enjoy all his favorite things and get professional care from qualified caregivers. And they were all on hand, along with members of his family, to celebrate his special day, decorating his room with balloons, bringing him gifts, and ensuring he had a 77th birthday to remember!

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He lives at the Wisteria House care home in Somerset, England, and is very popular with the staff.

Ann Nicholson, manager of the care home, says that “Kenny can brighten anyone’s day with his smile and his laughter.”

Ann added that Kenny is “very affectionate” and often demands hugs and cuddles from people, calling him “one in a million”.

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Some of Kenny’s favorite things include playing the harmonica, joking around with his friends, and enjoying sweet things, so he definitely enjoyed the delicious-looking birthday cake that had been prepared for him!

Statistics show that more and more people with Down syndrome are living to higher ages, but it wasn’t always like that. Back when Kenny was born, his chances of leading such a long and happy life were low, but the love and care of his parents played a big part in his longevity. His mom cared for him all the way into the 90s, while his dad used to enjoy driving him around in a motorcycle sidecar as a child.

Learn more about Kenny and see him on his happy day in the clip below.

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By Khadija Bilal
hi@sbly.com
Khadija Bilal is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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