The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

September 18, 2010

Couple with Down syndrome to marry

JOPLIN, Mo. — Heather Dale and Tyler Wylie were as excited last weekend about their Sunday wedding as any other couple would be.

They proudly showed off the heart-shaped engagement ring. They talked about what they will wear — a white dress for Heather, a tuxedo with a pink rose corsage for Tyler. They snuggled next to each other and shared a kiss.

And they both happen to have Down syndrome, a genetic disorder marked by three copies of the 21st chromosome.

“There have been few other couples as excited about getting married,” Heather’s mother, Alane Nutz, said. “Love is love, and this wedding will be incredible.”

The couple met about nine years ago at a Special Olympics event and have been inseparable ever since. When Tyler fell ill earlier this year with pneumonia, Heather was regularly by his side at the hospital, and their families promised them a wedding when Tyler recovered.

Weddings between couples with Down syndrome are slowly gaining ground thanks to the general realization that people with the disorder usually have desires of love, acceptance, marriage or parenthood — the same desires that most people without Down syndrome have, said Sarah Schleider, vice president of marketing and communications for the National Down Syndrome Society.

“I think it’s no different than any typically functioning individual who’s marrying the love of their life,” she said.

Heather and Tyler’s wedding is set for 3 p.m. Sunday at Schifferdecker Park in Joplin. The public is invited to attend.

For more on this story, pick up a copy of Sunday’s Joplin Globe or register for our E-Edition here at joplinglobe.com.

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