In Italy last week, a young man called Valeri Katoya saved a ten-year-old girl's life. The 17-year-old is reportedly a champion swimmer. The report looks like it's been translated so you don't get much information. But Valeri did save this girl's life.
If this had been reported it to the English-speaking press, no doubt someone wouldn't have been able to resist the urge to describe this as a heart-rendering tale. If you've read any of my stuff before you'll know I have strong views on people prescribing an act of kindness / bravery / endeavour as 'inspiring' just because they find it so.
And this was much more than heart-warming. He saved her life. And it made me think: we don't know the circumstances of Valeri's birth but let's assume that his parents might have been told that their baby wouldn't amount to much. Let's then assume they didn't go ahead with the pregnancy. Not only would Valeri not have gone on to be a champion swimmer and a lifesaver worthy of Baywatch, but that girl may well not be with us.
The next time someone discusses testing for Down's Syndrome, perhaps chuck Valeri's story into the mix. Because sometimes the value that we bring to life, as humans, is only realised in an unexpected manner.
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