Camper/Illustrator John Shulby

Camper John Shulby was featured today in an article in The Intelligencer. The article described his role as an illustrator of a recently published book about an individual with Down syndrome playing on a baseball team. According to the article, John drew two images, including one of the title character of the book and his teammate sitting next to one another on the bench in the dugout.

All of us from Camp PALS congratulate you on being published, John!

The text of the article can be found below. We remind all of our campers and counselors to send us an email if they are featured in the news. We will post the article.

A chance to shine

The proposal was a home run for two area sports fans with Down syndrome.

Their mission: illustrating a book about a boy with the genetic disorder who goes up to bat at his baseball team’s big game.

Warwick 15-year-old John Shulby and Pipersville 13-year-old David Heller are among the people with Down syndrome who illustrated the children’s book, “Colin Gets a Chance.” The self-published book was released Aug. 1 and got a little extra spotlight soon after when the GOP vice presidential pick was revealed to be Alaska governor — and mother of an infant with Down syndrome — Sarah Palin. The disorder is caused by an extra chromosome and slows mental and physical development.

“Colin Gets a Chance” author Brian Beale, whose 9-year-old son was diagnosed with the condition shortly after his birth, said it took about a year of networking through area Down syndrome support groups to find families willing to give his proposition a shot. Many parents were concerned their kids weren’t ready for the challenge, but Beale convinced some that if they could draw a stick figure, they had all the skill they needed.

“We’re giving these kids a chance to show what they can do,” the Delaware County man said.

The book was written to help parents and teachers communicate with kids about a potentially awkward topic. Often, Beale said, it only comes up when a child is in a public setting — at the mall, for example — then sees someone with Down syndrome and asks what’s wrong with that kid.

John’s mother, Cathy Shulby, said the book and its illustrations will help promote an understanding of the disorder.

“I think it’s the start of something — awareness,” she said; it’s helped “to give our kids chances to be a part of the regular community.”

John drew two pictures for the book, including one of the title character and his teammate, Billy, sitting on the bench together. The 15-year-old is bashful when people talk about his published artwork, Cathy said. Though the Holicong Middle School student can now claim to be a professional illustrator, his career dreams change as often as one would expect of a young teenager — some days, he’s a would-be architect, and others he’s considering a career in aviation. The family is looking into programs where he can go to college to pursue whatever he decides he wants to do.

“He really has a lot of hopes and dreams, just like any other 15-year-old,” Cathy said.

David, a Tohickon Middle School student, was excited when he heard about Beale’s pitch for drawings, said his mother, Holly Heller. He and his 7-year-old brother, Chase — both avid Phillies fans — worked on the drawing of a baseball diamond together. Now, the boys are running around the neighborhood showing everyone their published artwork.
Cathy said the Shulby family treats John as though he does not have a disability, and “Colin Gets a Chance” promotes the message that others should do the same. Holly had a similar take.

“It kind of goes with our family’s theme of inclusion and acceptance,” she said.

Beale has been in high demand lately. Starting this month, the father of three will start doing TV appearances, readings and book signings between car-pool shifts.

Less than a month after his book hit the market, the GOP tapped Palin as its vice presidential nominee. Now, that’s all anyone ever asks Beale about — What do you make of Palin? Not that he minds the question.

“It’s creating a buzz. It’s getting people talking,” he said.

Cathy said watching the Palin family take the stage at the Republican National Convention, with baby Trig in tow, was a groundbreaking event that caught her attention. If Palin is elected vice president, and Trig grows up in the national spotlight, the awareness could do much to stop some of the discrimination that comes from a lack of understanding, she said.

“It will be interesting to see how it unravels,” Cathy said.