Chris Campbell, a man with Down Syndrome who worked at the same Georgia McDonald’s for 27 years, has passed away, according to his family.
Family members confirmed to 11Alive he died on the morning of June 11.
They said that he passed away without life insurance and are asking for donations via GoFundMe to cover the costs.
The GoFundMe said he was “a boy scout, church acolyte, community volunteer, McDonald’s employee, loving son, grandson, brother, uncle and friend. He was so special in so many ways to so many people.”
“Chris Campbell was a wonderful example of the difference made by a loving family, supportive community and strong advocates,” the his family said on the page, adding, “He was special in so many ways to so many people. He loved all things pirate and enjoyed celebrating life through music and laughter! His family feels an immense loss and will miss Chris’ sweet smile and generous spirit.”
According to 11Alive, his family said his passing was unexpected.
The Down Syndrome Association of Atlanta said his co-workers honored him in March with a cake, trophy, and party, for being an employee for decades.
“He’s got determination, a lot of fight, and he’s going to the top no matter what… and no one’s going to stop him!” Chris’s mother said at the time, according to 11Alive.
The Down Syndrome Association of Atlanta also issued a statement after his story went viral.
“They love their families, value their friends, root for the home team, and cope with the challenges of daily living such as managing a budget, living independently and having a job. These individuals and their families want the same opportunities for education, health, relationships, community involvement and careers as everyone else. With advocacy and the right supports, we can help make that happen!” the statement said.
— 11Alive News (@11AliveNews) March 20, 2019
“I like to clean, mopping, cleaning the tables and making Happy Meal boxes. I love the Happy Meal boxes,” Campbell said in March. “Every time I give them the boxes it makes each person happy.”
Since 1983, the life expectancy for individuals with Down syndrome has increased by 35 years from 25 to 60 years old, Fox News reported, adding that there 400,000 people in the United States who have Down syndrome.
“For anyone to be at any business for 27 years is pretty remarkable,” Kellie Vander Veur, the manager at the McDonald’s where he worked, told InsideEdition.com in March. “For a man with Down syndrome to be employed by the same brand and three different owner-operators over the years speaks to his personality.”
His story gives hopes to parents of children with Down syndrome.
“His mother … always told him, ‘You can do anything you want to do,'” Vander Veur said.