Cheeseburgers and French Fries

Mallory - chandler, Arizona
Entered on September 15, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

Never did I think four little words could make someone so happy, but it works. My little brother, Evan, would do anything for a trip to McDonald’s for a cheeseburger and French fries. It seems silly that the sound of a processed, greasy meal can make him so excited he can hardly stand it. It often makes me wonder; why does it take so much to make people happy?

September 14th, 1998 Evan was born. Shortly after his birth the doctor diagnosed him with Down’s syndrome, a mental disability that would affect him for the rest of his life. Because of his illness, Evan cannot do everything most little boys do and is involved in several different types of therapy. Besides his mental disabilities, Evan was born with cataracts in both eyes and a small hole in his heart. For the first few months of his life he was attached to an oxygen tank just so he could breathe. Regardless of his obviously difficult start to life, my little brother is always cheerful and uplifting.

His happiness is contagious. I have never seen someone come in contact with my brother and not smile. His attitude towards life in general motivates people to be happy, it is amazing to watch. One of my fondest memories is watching him take part in Special Olympics, an organization for disabled children to get active in sports. Evan is currently involved basketball, track and field, bowling, and swimming. When attending one of his monthly “games”, it is common to see chaos. Kids are everywhere laughing and playing. They are truly happy just to be a part of something, rather than worrying about being the best. At Evan’s last basketball game he won the bronze medal for overall effort. When it was over our mother told him we could go wherever he wanted for dinner afterwards as a reward. Naturally, Evan picked McDonald’s. As usual he wanted a cheeseburger and French fries, and proceeded to shove the salty fries in his mouth before even glancing at his burger. He made an absolute mess of his Happy Meal, but he was having the best night of his life. It made me feel so happy just watching him. I felt as if a weight had been lifted, as if whatever I am usually worrying about had just fallen away. My ten-year-old brother did this for me.

Down’s syndrome will eventually take Evan’s life. Statistically when he is middle aged with a lot of life to live, but I try not to worry about him. Because I know he will be happy, he is the strongest person I know. Because of him I believe in cheeseburgers and French fries. I believe that people should slow down and just be happy with their lives. Evan continues to inspire me everyday and helps me to believe that we should really all try to be happy as much as we can.