Thomas S. Vander Woude Memorial Fund
for Down Syndrome Research
In 2015, Angels in Disguise gave a founding gift to the Jerome LeJeune Foundation for research to improve the lives of individuals with Down syndrome. We continue this funding annually, to honor Thomas Vander Woude's heroic sacrifice.
Who is Thomas S. Vander Woude?
What is the Jerome LeJeune Foundation?
Excerpts taken from story published originally and in full here.
"On September 8, 2008 Thomas S. Vander Woude gave his life to save his son, Joseph, who had fallen into a septic tank while working on the family farm... Vander Woude, a former Vietnam fighter pilot and retired commercial airline pilot was the proud father of 7 sons. Joseph, or "Josie" as he is called, is Tom and his wife Mary Ellen's youngest son, and he has Down syndrome. Tom Vander Woude's heroic sacrifice stands out as a clear testimony of the depth of love a father can have for a child with a disability. It is also a clear reminder that all human life is of inestimable value and worthy of protection at any cost."
"The Jerome Lejeune Foundation is the world's oldest and largest private foundation supporting research in Down syndrome and other genetic intellectual disabilities. Founded in Paris in 1996 and expanding to the US in 2012, the foundation will invest $6 million this year in research to improve the lives of those living with Down syndrome and other genetic intellectual disabilities."