N.B. man with Down Syndrome defies the odds: ‘He is a phenomenal person’

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New Brunswick man with Down Syndrome defies the odds
WATCH: A New Brunswick man who just celebrated his 77th birthday is believed to be the oldest living person with Down Syndrome in Canada – inspiring others with his zest for life and boundless love. Shelley Steeves reports. – Apr 11, 2023

A New Brunswick man believed to be the oldest living person with Down Syndrome in Canada is inspiring others with the love in his heart and his zest for life.

“He is a phenomenal person. He is in the same mood every day: a great, great personality,” said Brenda Doucette, Bruce Brown’s caregiver of almost 20 years.

She lives with Brown at his home in Saint John.

Brown celebrated his 77th birthday last week. A parade of more than 70 vehicles drove past his home last Thursday in celebration of his big day.

Laura LaChance, the Canadian Down Syndrome Society’s executive director, said, “He’s probably one of, if not the oldest individuals with Down Syndrome living in Canada today,” possibly even in the world.

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While there is no formal record keeping to prove it, LaChance said the life expectancy of people with Down Syndrome has been extended to 60 years thanks to advances in medicine and care.

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Honouring World Down Syndrome Day

“We are seeing now that this may be the first generation of individuals with Down Syndrome who are outliving their parents,” she said.

Brown’s mom passed several years ago, and he has far surpassed the odds said LaChance.

Brown was born in 1946 and was the second son of Leroy and Margaret Brown, also of Saint John.

Margaret passed away in 2003, but Doucette said she was the driving force in making sure that her son was well cared for during  her life and after her passing.

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Part of Brown’s secret to longevity, according to his brother Paul Brown, is the unwavering love from his caregivers: Doucette and her husband Jack.

“He is my son. I have two children and I don’t treat him any different from my kids,” said Doucette.

Brown said he loves to watch The Price is Right every day and loves old movies featuring John Wayne and he especially loves to sing.

“I sing beautifully,” he said.

While Doucette said that Brown has been diagnosed with dementia, he is in good health.

“He has a lot more years to go yet, trust me,” she said.

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