Life Goes On was my favorite show on television, and it was the first program to include a leading character with Down syndrome. Chris Burke, who played the role of Corky on Life Goes On, did such a wonderful job that you could hardly notice that he had Down syndrome. Through Burke’s acting, all you saw was his artistry and no disability at all. Life Goes On centered on family bonds that help overcome all obstacles.
The critically acclaimed show, Life Goes On, was inspiring to all who had a child with Down syndrome. The Thatcher family helped Corey conquer many challenges through the power of love. All of Corey’s siblings, in Life Goes On, had different personalities. Corey’s parents, Elizabeth “Libby” Thatcher and Andrew Thatcher, never made any comparisons that would hurt their children. Beca Thatcher was the scholarly one. Paige Thatcher was the oldest one who was outgoing, popular and had a lively social life. Corey, who was the middle child, was the most loving and caring one in the family. Even though he had Down’s syndrome, he received no special treatment from his parents.
With the support of his tight knit family and tough love from his parents, Corey was able to attend a regular high school. Surely, he did struggle, but he overcame many of the barriers that he faced and was treated just like any other kid. Corey showed that he had a strong personality and a good heart.
In real life, Chris Burke had great parents just like in the program, Life Goes On. When he was born with Down syndrome, they told his parents to place him in an institution. Frank Burke and Marian Burke, Chris’s parents, both decided to raise Chris at home. They certainly made the right choice, for he grew into a well-adjusted and intelligent young man. Ever since he was a child, Burke loved acting, and his parents always encouraged him to pursue an acting career. In 1987, Burke had a role in the ABC TV movie Desperate.
ABC executives were so impressed with Burke’s performance that they asked Michael Braverman to create a show about Burke. Thus the show, Life Goes On began, a program that touched so many lives. After watching Life Goes On, many Americans were simply touch as a new star, Chris Burke, became famous. .
In the first few episodes, the show dealt with Corey’s Down syndrome and showing all of his remarkable abilities. However, in later episodes other issues were tackled such as AIDS. Kellie Martin, who played the role of Beca Thatcher, gave an outstanding performance as the girlfriend of Jesse McKenna. Chas Lowe, who played the role of Jesse McKenna, was Beca’s boyfriend who was stricken by AIDS. The two shared a true love despite Jesse’s AIDS diagnosis. These episodes about AIDS were dramatic and touching. They explored many issues about AIDS and how this disease affects relationships but can never stop the power of true love.
Life Goes On, which aired on ABC from September 1989 to May 23, 1993, was an unforgettable show that few can ever surpass. This program really showed how strong the indomitable human spirit really is. Many actors, from Life Goes On, went on to get major roles in films including Chris Burke. In addition to becoming a successful actor, Burke became an advocate for those who have Down syndrome. As an actor, advocate and public speaker, he has proved that those who have Down syndrome can make their dreams come true. After all, an IQ test only revels a number. An IQ test can never measure how hard you are willing to work to achieve your goals and the indomitable nature of the human spirit.