NRL News

A follow-up to the remarkable story of Rion Holcombe, a life of infinite possibilities

by | Jan 6, 2014


By Andrew Bair

Rion Holcombe

Rion Holcombe

Remember the YouTube video of Rion Holcombe, the remarkable young man with Down syndrome who melted our hearts when he received his acceptance letter from Clemson University?  Rion, you’ll recall, had been accepted into the university’s Clemson-LIFE program, a two-year program for young adults with intellectual disabilities

After the video went viral (it currently stands at over 1.7 million views), Holcombe received the opportunity to attend the Orange Bowl to watch Clemson take on Ohio State and meet some of the players.

The viral video “won the hearts of just about everyone who saw it,” said Maggie Newland of CBS-Miami. Susan Holcombe, Rion’s mom, told Newland, “He really has inspired a lot of people,” adding, “We’ve heard from people all over the world who didn’t know programs like this existed.”

Rion says the acceptance letter blew his mind. “My heart was full of joy,” he said.

Rion’s story is inspirational for families across the country. After the initial positive feedback from the YouTube video, Rion’s mother, a Clemson graduate herself, posted:

“Thanks for the encouragement…I love that kids like Rion get to experience college life and this type of independence. Proud of my alma mater!”

Rion’s story is also heartening for those of us in the pro-life movement. Often, we are combating the notion that abortion or euthanasia are acceptable solutions to dealing with the problems faced by people with disabilities. Some studies show higher than 90% of babies diagnosed with Down syndrome are aborted.

Rion’s story serves as a reminder that with life come infinite possibilities. Perhaps as our society hears more about amazing people like Rion, it will come to view each human person as valuable, and never as a burden.

(If you missed the video of Rion as he opened his acceptance letter, you can view it at

Categories: Down Syndrome