An Argentinean advertising executive who unexpectedly became the father of a son with Down syndrome has turned his journey from disbelief to acceptance into a heartwarming video.
Pablo Poncini says that he “lost consciousness” and “simply fainted” when a doctor told him and his wife, Gabriela, that their newborn son had Down syndrome.
“It was as if the road we had started as a family had come to an end,” Poncini, the CEO of international advertising agency TBWA Buenos Aires, recalls.
Thirteen years later, Poncini decided to focus his advertising talent on his personal life to document how he and his son had bonded since that emotional day in the delivery room.
The result is “The 1000 Days of Luca,” a nine-minute video that shows the father and son duo on a road trip last November through Argentina’s famous 1000 miles in La Patagonia.
“I didn’t like most of the messages I’ve seen about people with disabilities,” Poncini told GoodMorningAmerica.com by email. “I didn’t like the way in which many of my colleagues used to talk about Down syndrome, for example.”
“I don’t think it’s right for a boy like Luca to say, ‘Be nice with me,’” he said. “I think that it’s much better for him to say ‘I’m nice. I’m funny. I’m great.’”
The video, which shows father and son throwing rocks, swimming, driving in a classic car and more, is narrated by Poncini with insights on how he and his family, including Luca’s two sisters, looked past Luca’s diagnosis to see the real him.
“”We realized that it wasn’t really a problem,” he says in the video. “It wasn’t a serious problem, nor was it a problem at all. We just had to get used to something different.”
“And then little by little the Down syndrome disappeared and Luca appeared.”
Poncini was asked to work on a campaign about the inclusion of people with disabilities but chose the road trip with his son to show a different perspective.
“When I found out that my best experience for this project was the father experience and not the advertising guy experience, I made the decision of telling our own story,” Poncini wrote. “And I thought that a road trip movie could be a great way to do it.”
The video was shot over a period of six days while Poncini and Luca traveled between Buenos Aires and Patagonia.
“I got a great film director, Martín Kalina, to be my partner in this project and this was very important,” Poncini told GoodMorningAmerica.com. “We were planning and talking for months, he met Luca and the rest of my family and, finally, we spent six days shooting.”
At the video’s end, Poncini provides a touching update on his relationship with Luca.
“Right here, right now with him I feel great,’ he says.