ALTAMONTE SPRINGS, Florida — David Cowan and Saris Garcia, both high school students who have Down syndrome, have known each other for more than a decade.
Last week, the two went viral with a homecoming proposal video that was viewed millions of times. Their families say they’re thrilled the special moment has reached so many.
“Their love is real, the connection is real,” the families said in an email. “We want people to know that they are just like other couples and fall in love and wish to have a fulfilling life. Down syndrome does not limit them.”
The sweet surprise was captured on September 26, as Garcia, an 11th grader and cheerleader at Lake Brantley High School in Altamonte Springs, Florida, was cheering for a school football game.
Her boyfriend, Cowan, a 12th grader at Seminole High School in Sanford, Florida, was in the bleachers just waiting to pop the question.
“He was so excited and dancing in the bleachers,” Garcia’s mom, Wanda Cruz and Cowan’s mom, Marilyn Cowan, said in their joint email.
The two met each other in a speech therapy class, but lost touch after the Cowans briefly moved away in 2004. Months later, both were enrolled in the same school and reunited.
“(Their) friendship and relationship just blossomed,” their mothers said.
The two have a “special connection,” their families say, participating in county Special Olympics, and staying active through multiple sports like swimming and surfing. “As they got older their relationship grew and that’s when they expressed their feelings (and showed) how much they care for each other.”
Garcia didn’t know about the proposal. Her reaction was priceless, their mothers said.
“She was radiant! She said many times, ‘I can’t believe it!’ They were both so excited! The crowd was cheering for them! And the best part was the support and love from her cheer squad,” they said.
On Saturday, the couple, both dressed in navy, headed to the Seminole High School dance as their friends cheered them on. “The highlight of the dance was when the principal at Seminole High presented them as the special couple guest and the kids went crazy cheering for them,” their mothers said.
“Our hearts are overflowing with all the calls, comments, text, love and support we are receiving,” their mothers said. “We are proud that both schools provide the best support and inclusion experience for them to be successful.”
Cowan wants to attend UCF and Garcia, who models, would love to do commercials and model at Paris Fashion Week, their moms said.