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New York Widow with Down Syndrome Tells Her Love Story

Posted by Brian Spence on Oct 7, 2019 8:00:00 AM

Down Syndrome, Behavioral HealthIn August, 2019 CBS News reported on the death of a husband with Down syndrome, the reaction of his wife and the local community in the Adirondack Mountains of New York.

Paul and Kris Scharoun-DeForge were both born with Down syndrome. It's a genetic disease that occurs when people are born with an extra copy of chromosome 21. Roughly 6,000 babies are born in the US with Down syndrome every year. Both of their families had refused to place them in special facilities as youngsters according to this MSN article.

The couple met in the 1980's at a dance event for special needs individuals, and got married in 1993.

They are one of the first recorded instances of a Down syndrome couple to get married; and possibly the longest known Down syndrome marriage. The widow, 59-year-old Kris Scharoun-DeForge, spread some of her husband's ashes at his favorite fishing spot. Speaking of her husband Kris said "He got me laughing and everything. He was the one for me," per CBS News. Paul passed away at age 59 due to Alzheimer's disease. "People like us need to have a chance. A chance to find the man of your dreams, as I did," she said.

Public Outcry in the 1990's

It took a lot more than a standard marriage license for these two lovebirds to get married though. They had to complete marriage counseling and classes. The "able-minded" public seemed to feel like it was two children getting married, rather than two adults, said psychology professor Susan Sharoun of Le Moyne College of Syracuse.


While we don't think of the 1990's as a Dark Age, public opinion and human rights have moved forward considerably; and at Staffing Plus we're glad of it! Our role at Staffing Plus is to match professionals with positions where they can work with individuals such as Paul and Kris.

If you work with special needs individuals, or if you're looking for professional staff that does contact us today!


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Topics: Behavioral Health

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