Darryl Andaya knows what it’s like to overcome challenges.
Now 20 years old, Andaya of Burnaby, B.C. was born with Down Syndrome.
That disability didn’t prevent him from scaling the heights of achievement.
Andaya is a world champion in taekwondo.
In 2019, Andaya represented Canada at the inaugural International Special Needs Taekwon-do Games, which was held in New Zealand.
He brought home two gold medals, one silver, and one bronze. As the one-man Canadian team, Andaya placed Canada fourth among participating nations.
Andaya’s story is told in a new written by his father Darius Andaya. The young man did the illustrations for the book.
The book is titled ‘I, Too, Can Be Special!: Adventures of Super Darryl’.
“This book, written in poetry form and dedicated to everyone with special needs or disabilities, is about the hopes and struggles of a child with Down Syndrome, learning slowly, in a fast-paced world,” reads the blurb for the book.
“See how Darryl overcomes his learning difficulties, surprise everyone by the things he could achieve and show that people with disabilities can be as special as everybody else. All they need are opportunities,” according to the ad.
Darius Andaya told ReyFort Media Group that after last year’s tournament, Darryl continued his work with Elections Canada as well as his role as an assistant instructor at DSA Royal International Taekwon-do in Burnaby, where the elder Andaya is the instructor.
Darryl enjoys teaching the Little Dragons class (4-6 years old) as well as his peers with Special Needs at the Down Syndrome Resource Foundation.
“I had already started a poem for Darryl which I meant to dedicate to him on his 18th birthday. However, life happened and 2 years later, it was still unfinished,” according to Darius Andaya.
Darius Andaya decided to make it a book and collaborate with Darryl to do the illustrations.
“On June 9, 2020, in time for his 20th birthday, our book “I, Too Can Be Special!” was published and launched to the public through the social media,” Darius Andaya said.