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  • Down syndrome 5-year-old to gain fame in the Big Apple

    Images of Jaime Dolantree, of Provolt, will be on the giant Times Square Jumbotron on Sept. 21 to kick off Down Syndrome Awareness Month
  • PROVOLT — Provolt's little Jaime Dolantree is about to make his big debut in New York's Times Square.
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  • PROVOLT — Provolt's little Jaime Dolantree is about to make his big debut in New York's Times Square.
    The National Down Syndrome Society chose the 5-year-old from more than 1,000 entries worldwide to help kick off Down Syndrome Awareness Month, set nationwide for October.
    On Sept. 21, a video collage of more than 200 images of Jaime and others with Down syndrome — a genetic disorder — is scheduled to tower over Times Square on a News Corp. Sony Jumbotron.
    Jaime's mother, Liz Tree, submitted the winning photograph of him playing harmonica and guitar. "Yes, I'm into raising awareness about Down syndrome and just showing people that people with Down syndrome are more like us than different," she said.
    "Jaime is really a typical kid. He happens to have an extra chromosome, which causes Down syndrome. He goes to school. He has lots of friends. He loves music, obviously. He loves dogs. He knows his ABCs," Tree said.
    She said Down syndrome makes it more difficult for Jaime to speak, run and jump. "Everything takes him longer."
    Tree and her husband, Ryan Dolan, also have a 13-year-old son, Milo.
    Her biggest challenge is keeping her expectations and those of others extremely high for Jaime, "presuming competence, giving him the opportunity to do it on his own, and not try to do everything for him," she said.
    "The biggest challenge, too, is being patient. Say hi to him and he'll wait five seconds. Then he'll say hi back."
    Tree was thrilled to learn Jaime will be on the big screen. "Of course, I think he's the cutest 5-year-old there is, and I think, 'Hey, he's going to make a lot of people happy.' "
    Cute and musical? "Well, I think so," she said. "Don't all moms think their kids are talented? He plays music every single day, and he does keep a rhythm." She priced plane tickets to New York for her son's debut, but they're a farming family and can't get away in September.
    "Of course, we think it's awesome to celebrate Down syndrome, children with any kind of difference, because we believe differences and celebrating difference is what our country is all about," Dolan added.
    "If there's some kind of feed or live stream, we could have some people over" for the big event on Sept. 21, he said. "We'll show it to Jaime and try to help him understand what's going on.
    "He hears us, and it doesn't really matter to him that much. He's, like, 'Great, can I have some ice cream?' "
    Reach Grants Pass Daily Courier reporter Howard Huntington at 541-474-3726 or hhuntington@thedailycourier.com.
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