In Armenia there is still little awareness about the disabled, Unicef reported. Children are sometimes institutionalized in orphanages or boarding schools at birth.
Not sure what to do without the support of his wife, Forrest turned to GoFundMe to ask for help.
In about a week, he’d already surpassed his goal of raising $60,000, which he hoped to use to support him and his son for a year.
Forrest, who is originally from Auckland, New Zealand, said he plans to move home with Leo, where it would be easier for him to integrate with society and find support.
Thursday night, Forrest posted an update on the GoFundMe site, saying:
Thanks everyone – we are stunned beyond words at the incredible support & love you’ve shown for little Leo.
9 days after we started our campaign, Leo and I found out in the wee hours of morning that we had crossed our target! He is a lucky guy to have the support of thousands of friends like you around the world.
Some of the additional funds that we have raised will be used to secure better living conditions in Auckland, and to give Leo higher quality opportunities when it comes to education - a good home and school cost money, but Leo will have all that and more, thanks to you.
We will use some of the money you’ve given to fund facilities and programs here in Armenia that will support future parents to keep their kids despite all disabilities, and to help better care for the special ones who end up away from their Mom & Dad. We’d also like to share the surplus funds with the only orphanage in Armenia that regularly takes abandoned Down Syndrome babies as well as other organisations that can help these children – thanks to your support we can start to make a difference already
Thanks again for your care and generosity!
Many of the people who donated to the campaign posted thoughtful messages about the love of a family member with Down syndrome: