Many have never heard of Dr. Jerome Lejeune, but his accomplishments in medicine and as a pro-life champion are extraordinary. A French geneticist, he was strongly pro-life and was dedicated to improving the lives of his patients with disorders such as Down syndrome. While conducting research in 1958, he discovered the cause of Down syndrome: a third chromosome on the 21st set of genes.
Not only did he discover the cause of Down syndrome, but he made great strides to improve societal attitudes towards people with Down syndrome. Before his discovery, many people believed that Down syndrome was a fault of the parents. Having a child with Down syndrome was considered shameful, and most people with Down syndrome were institutionalized and failed to receive the medical care they needed. Dr. Lejeune was an advocate for these individuals, both inside and outside the womb.
Dr. Jerome Lejeune helped correct misconceptions about people with Down syndrome, demonstrating care for each of his patients, and encouraging people to see the truth: people with Down syndrome are people just like you and me. During his lifetime, thousands of families from around the world came to him for help. He affirmed parents’ love for their children with Down syndrome, and demonstrated that he truly cared for each of “these dear little ones.” He authentically lived out his favorite saying: “Every patient is my brother.”
Watch the video below to learn more about the life and accomplishments of Dr. Jerome Lejeune.
At the Jerome Lejeune Foundation USA, we are honored to carry on his legacy of care, scientific research, and advocacy for individuals with Down syndrome. With the help of people like you who are passionate about defending life and caring for the most vulnerable in society, we continue to improve medical care and quality of life for individuals with Down syndrome of all ages.