Marianna and Down Syndrome: I have an extra chromosome, that of joy!

Written by Guest Writer

January 14, 2022

Marianna and Down syndrome: “I have an extra chromosome, that of joy”
Marianna Peduto is 26 years old and lives in Posada (Italy), she graduated from high school with top marks, she loves music and acting, but above all is incredibly deep. She knows Checco Zalone’s films by heart and her biggest dream is to meet him one day!

“I dream of being a career woman, married and with a child. ” What I am about to tell you is an extraordinary story, not because it concerns a girl with disabilities (enough with this stereotype of the handicapped-hero for the sole fact that she breathes), but because Marianna Peduto really is extraordinary! Make yourself comfortable because you are in for the ride of your life!

Marianna is twenty-six years old, she lives in the beautiful Sardinia (in Posada) with her mother, a maths teacher, her father a fish merchant and her grandmother. Her sister, also a teacher, lives in Milan. Ah, Marianna has an extra chromosome, but this is of little importance…

“I attended the ‘Liceo Pedagogico-Musicale’ in Nuoro and left high school with top marks, obtaining my diploma!”
That’s how, together with her friend Mary, our chat begins. She tells me how she liked to study, especially music, which she continues to live through singing.

Marianna loves music and acting.

Here, Marianna is the full of dreams and enthusiasm: “when I knew I had Trisomy21 – so she says – I did not accept it and I no longer wanted to be with others. But today for me it is pure adrenaline, I call it ‘The chromosome of joy’!” So what would you say to those who break down every day?

“For many people it is not easy to be accepted. I have always felt good around everyone. People love me, I am lucky… To those who are victims of bullying I would say talk about it, always. With parents first of all, then with teachers or friends.”

Marianna, unfortunately, does not have a job despite her suitability certified by a medical commission. “I’m still waiting for this break through!” she tells me with a veil of melancholy at the bottom of her beautiful blue eyes. Yet her expression changes immediately after, when she tells me how full her days are, among other things at the CEAS association where she carries out various activities.

“My love for acting was born suddenly. I have been doing theatre since primary school, for me it is liberating! Recently, I acted in a show interpreting the thoughts of Eleonora D’Arborea. I also like acting and watching comedies.”

Marianna while interpreting “The Life of Eleonora d’Arborea”.
Speaking of comedy films: Marianna knows all the films of Checco Zalone by heart, on whom she has a huge crush! She can recite his films from memory…

“So… I was engaged to a guy but he dumped me! That’s why I found myself feeling really low. Please don’t laugh, it’s the truth!” she says melodramatically to her friend Mary sitting next to her. And then she continues: “I felt a bit dead inside. But then it happened, by chance, to see some the sketches of Checco Zalone. I like everything about him: his songs, how he speaks…”

Here Marianna interrupts and shoots me a copy-pasted scene of almost two minutes from the film “What a beautiful day!” , her favorite: a dialogue between Checco and Farah inside a museum, complete with the imitation of Santa Teresa in ecstasy. I’m overwhelmed, I don’t know whether to laugh at her charisma or be struck by her skill. So I ask her what she would like to do “when she grows up”:

“Firstly, I would like to find a job just like everyone else. I have three dreams in my heart: the first is to do a duet with Tiziano Ferro, the second is to sing ‘My beginning is you’ with Fiorello … and the third, of course, is to meet my idol Checco Zalone – that would be amazing!”

But for a moment let’s go back to disability. Yes, because the many dreams, all the activities, the projects Marianna harbours are fine… But real life is also something else, and with Marianna I feel I can still dig deep. So I ask, given her strong awareness, if she feels different from other people and experiences daily difficulties:

“Well, I’m not able to do certain things, for example I can’t drive a car…” and here she remains silent for several seconds, with a slightly sad air “… and I don’t have a boyfriend. For me, it is difficult because I am different from others. Namely… Not really different-different, but I have more difficulty finding a guy, that’s it. But singing and acting are my strengths, and my mother! Without her and my friends I couldn’t survive.”

Before drawing the interview to a close, I ask Marianna if she would like to take this opportunity to thank someone. Needless to say I don’t need to ask twice… she just spills out:

“I would like to thank you for this interview, It has been so exciting! Then my family. And then I would like to thank Flavio, my gentle gymnastics instructor, Mara who is my total-body teacher and Angela who teaches me salsa and bachata.”

“But how, do you also do these things??” I ask her once again surprised. I almost feel like she is making fun of me, but her friend Mary confirms everything with a nod of the head, amused.

Marianna with her friend Mary
“Yes, I do gym in the mornings from Monday to Friday, and three or four times a week I do both gentle gymnastics, salsa and bachata, and in the evening I am also careful what I eat, I take part in theatre and music activities where I live. In the morning I do activities at a centre with Laura, my pedagogist, and sometimes I go out with my friends. Every day I have to take a thyroid tablet, as soon as I wake up…”

I do not understand what the thyroid has to do with it, thrown into the mix with the rest of the other commitments, but she is so overwhelming she leaves me stunned. She continues:

“… it has to do with my syndrome, in fact I often have check-ups. Now I do them here in Sardinia, before I also went to Rome just that my mum does not want to take me there anymore because she says that I ‘have put on a bit of weight’ and is ashamed.” At this she starts laughing, and it is this peel of laughter that really endears me. “I do find dieting a bit difficult because I like my food so much, but I am trying.”

Marianna with her mother Maria Consiglia
We are about to say goodbye, but after looking into her eyes I cannot close without one last curious question. “Marianna, are you happy?”

“Yes, because many people love me, even if I know that some people are prejudiced but this is because they are afraid of what they do not know! I would like to tell people to lighten up and broaden their horizons so there can be more acceptance for those who have Down syndrome. As Pope Francis says: ‘We must not hide, we must go out and love!’ My mother was also scared, but over time someone made her change her mind and now my family sees my syndrome as more of a blessing. This is thanks to her faith… and thanks to me of course! Do not be afraid, especially parents: be strong and believe anything is possible!”


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *