This Story Of A Father’s Letter To His Daughter With Down Syndrome Will Destroy You

Kleenex warning.

1. ESPN on Tuesday posted the incredible story of Heath White, a pilot turned FBI agent from Texas, who has been writing a very special letter to his daughter, Paisley.

2. In 2007, Heath learned that Paisley, his second daughter, had Down syndrome.

ESPN / Via youtube.com

3. His wife Jennifer explains that to a man like Heath, who always strove for perfection in every aspect of his life, learning his daughter wouldn’t be perfect crushed him.

ESPN / Via youtube.com

4. The couple have known each other since middle school. Heath proposed to Jennifer in front of his Air Force graduation class. But the couple both admit that Paisley’s looming birth brought the couple to a dark place.

ESPN / Via youtube.com

5. Heath confesses that he grew distant and even discussed the realities of Jennifer having an abortion.

ESPN / Via youtube.com

6. He said these feelings of distance from his daughter and his family lasted until one day when he was playing with her, tickling her, and she giggled and laughed just like any other kid.

ESPN / Via youtube.com

7. Faced with what he now knew was selfishness, he dedicated himself to putting to paper exactly how his mind changed about Paisley.

ESPN / Via youtube.com

8. A letter he plans to share with Paisley when she’s older, to let her know exactly how wrong he was.

ESPN / Via youtube.com

9. But Heath didn’t just stop at a letter.

ESPN / Via youtube.com

10. He started running competitively again.

ESPN / Via youtube.com

11. And not alone, either.

ESPN / Via youtube.com

12. Heath started running marathons, pushing Paisley along with him, to make sure everyone knew exactly how proud he was of his daughter.

ESPN / Via youtube.com

13. The two of them ran numerous 5K and 10K races over the last five years, totaling 321 miles. A special number for Heath: Down syndrome manifests as a third copy of the 21st chromosome.

ESPN / Via youtube.com

15. Paisley got as big of a kick out of the races as Heath did.

ESPN / Via youtube.com

16. The whole video is long, but the story is also incredible. And while ESPN and Heath unfortunately don’t show the whole letter…

ESPN / Via youtube.com

17. …the video does end with this very sweet excerpt:


Before you were born I only worried about how your disability reflected on me. Now there is no better mirror in the world. You’re my light in the dark, and it’s a privilege to be your dad. Love always, daddy.

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