The owner of a Texas snow cone business is showing the world what Down Syndrome people can accomplish. 20 year-old Blake Pyron is the youngest person in his city to become a business owner. Blake is like every other young man. He has a girlfriend and he wants to earn his own money to take her to the movies. What makes Blake unique is that he has Down Syndrome. Blake is also the first Down Syndrome business owner in his hometown of Sanger and possibly in the whole state of Texas.
Blake was born to Mary Ann and Billy Pyron in 1996. Mary Ann told Live Action News that she was asked by her doctor to have an amniocentesis, but she refused. The couple had vowed to accept any child the Lord gave them, “We didn’t take it because we knew we would never have an abortion,” she said.
Mary Ann, was also born in Sanger and she said that she had never really heard about Downs before Blake’s birth. She detailed a gloomy prognosis for her son which was given to her family from medical personnel who she said gave her no hope. Her biggest fear was that Blake was going to die.
“Whenever Blake was born, I did not know what Down Syndrome was. I was just 25 years old and his father was 26. When the doctor came in and said she thought he had it, I said, she is crazy, he is so perfect. They just didn’t give us a lot of hope.”
As Live Action News has previously reported, women who are told their preborn child has Down syndrome are often pressured into an abortion, something disability advocates call a horrible and violent form of discrimination. A 2012 academic review of published literature on abortion after a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome in the United States found that more than half of preborn children with Down syndrome are aborted. Nine hospital-based studies showed the rate of abortion to be as high as 85% when a preborn child is diagnosed with Down syndrome.
The prognosis the Pyron family received was bleak, but, Mary Ann said she and her husband refused to believe that report. “In the hospital they were like, ‘Well, he might be able to walk, he might be able to talk,‘” Mary Ann recalled. “They didn’t give us much hope for Blake’s plans. But we had faith,” she told WFAA a local Dallas news outlet.
“We always knew in our heart that this wasn’t the truth – that God has a plan for Blake.” And Mary Ann was right. Blake far superseded the doctor’s predictions and went on to become a football captain, the prom king, citizen of the year for Sanger, DFW super Star, and has been in a country music video.
“We are the ones that label the disabled, no where in the Bible does it say disabled. That is a man-made label we chose to put on these kids.”
“Blake is removing boundaries for these kids,” his mother said.
Mary Ann explained that when Blake was born the family did not have blogs, Facebook or websites to go to and reach out to others with the same struggles. She said only one family that she met had a Downs child. “We just raised Blake like we raised our oldest son Mitchell. Downs was such a small part of Blake, we knew God had plans for Blake.”
Part of God’s plan is Blake’s Snow Shack which has opened a door for Blake and his family to tell their story. In October, Blake applied for a permit for the business. He then appeared before the City Council. Mary Ann reports that as God would have it, the approval letter for Blake’s Snow Shack arrived 20 years to the date when she and her husband said they received Blake’s diagnosis.
“We did some research and came across this snow cone business. When we finally got the paper from the city we realized that it was 20 years ago at that exact same time that the hospital was telling us he had Downs. And here he is becoming the first Downs business owner in Sanger and the youngest business owner. Possibly the only one person with Downs in Texas to own a business.”
Blake who is the president of the company told Live Action News and that he is very excited about the business and he loves all the interviews. He has always wanted to be a business owner and said he looks up to his friend and neighbor Tanner Maple who will help him as his first employee. Blake admits that he really loves snow cones, noting that his favorite flavor is “blue coconut.” Live Action News asked Blake how many flavors Blake’s Snow Shack will provide, and he replied, “We are going to have a bunch.”
Blake’s Snow Shack will open in April. After hearing Blake’s story, a Dallas Ad agency reached out to the Pyrons and has committed to helping Blake with his grand opening which will take place May 7, 2016.
In advance of the opening, supporters of Blake and his business venture can place orders for a Blake’s Snow Shack T-shirt on his Facebook page here.
For Mary Ann it has never been about a snow cone business, for her it is about the babies and how Blake’s story will help mothers of these children understand how full their lives are, “Our lives are so rich because of Blake, I couldn’t imagine life without him,” Mary Ann said.
“I love it – when Blake was born we literally had one family to go to. I am deeply concerned that mothers of Downs babies are getting these blood tests and people that would never consider abortion lean towards it because doctors are telling them horrible things about it.”
Mary Ann said that Blake’s story has been picked up by a number of major media outlets and as a result she has been contacted from mothers as far away as Europe. Mary Ann said that because of Blake’s story, she has counseled many mothers who have received a report of Downs. She wants any mother who is given this diagnosis to feel free to reach out to her and has given Live Action News permission to publish an e-mail address where she can be reached. That address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
“I’ve had people tell me that Blake has changed them. I know that is the reason God put Blake here.”