Advocating Against the R-Word.

Parker’s big sister, McCall has always been a huge advocate for ending the use of the R-word.

It hasn’t been easy.

Take for example, when on her high school softball team she asked a team mate to please not say the r-word. She was polite, explaining that her little brother had Down syndrome and using that word hurt.

Her teammate looked right smack at her and called HER the word.

But that wasn’t all. Oh, no. At each and every opportunity this teammate could find, she would use the r-word, making sure that she had McCall’s attention before hand.

It was a really looong season.

But McCall never backed down on her decision to advocate. Even though it hurt. A lot.

Flash forward 6 years.

A Facebook request from the former teammate.

It read something like this:

“I don’t even know if you remember me or anything but I have been praying and praying to find a way to get ahold of you and I couldn’t remember your last name to save my own life!

Then I saw you on another page!

I almost cried I was so happy. I’ve been thinking so much about this lately… When we played softball together, I said retard and retarded all the time and you had the courage to ask me to not say that…

I remember saying it to you right after and saying it around you. I want to let you know how deeply sorry I am. I was rude and not very grown up back then.

I just wanted to tell you I am so so sorry if I was ever rude or careless with my words. I hope life is treating you well these days.

Again, I am so sorry.”

McCall and her little brother Parker, who has Down syndrome.

Standing up for what is right isn’t always easy. It can be frustrating. It can hurt. It makes you a target.

But these words from the former teammate made all the difference in the world. Suddenly all the heckling, all the below the belt comments, all the crap that comes with advocating for the little brother she loves, became worth it.

Keep up the fight of spreading the word to end the r-word. You never know when the example you’re setting will will finally click and make a difference.

About Tammy and Parker

Special Needs Blogger, and homeschooling Mom, heavily involved in advocacy for all kids with special needs in Utah.


  1. That is such a great story!! I only hope that my kids will be like McCall as they get older- what a wonderful roll model she is!!!

  2. awesome!!! I love that McCall had the courage to stand up and NOT waiver in what she believed. but i also think that the young lady who grew up and “hunted” McCall down to tell her what a goober she had been deserves a round of applause. i wonder what happened in her life that brought about her change of thinking…just age and wisdom? you must be so proud of your baby girl!

  3. Wow… so amazing! I am thoroughly convinced that growing up with a differently-abled sibling does something to that compassion switch inside kids. My own sister fought with words and fists when people mocked me for being deaf. And then she spent years in special-ed classrooms, working with children who she loved beyond measure. Compassion… such a beautiful thing to fight the r-word with!

  4. Cathy says:


  5. This was such a wonderful story….I just put a post similar to this on my blog. It is hurtful with the context in which people use it… Hopefully we can change their minds about using this word one person at a time. :)

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