Chris Campbell made headlines when he was honored for working at an Atlanta McDonald’s for more than 27 years back in March. As the restaurant’s “gold star” employee, Campbell earned a star-shaped trophy with his name engraved on the front, a cake, and a party to celebrate his almost three decades of valuable service.
The McDonald’s owner and operator, Kellie Vander Veur notes that this level of dedication is exceptional for any employee, making Campbell’s achievement all the more special.
A community staple, and even dubbed the “Happy Meal Expert,” Campbell was 42 years old when he died unexpectedly in his home on June 11. Living with Down syndrome and lacking life insurance, his family now seeks donations through their GoFundMe page to cover Campbell’s funeral costs.
“Chris Campbell was a wonderful example of the difference made by a loving family, supportive community and strong advocates,” writes Campbell’s GoFundMe page.
And Campbell was much more than a McDonald’s employee. His family reports that he was also an active member in his community, having served as a boy scout and churchgoer.
“He was a boy scout, church acolyte, community volunteer, McDonald’s employee, loving son, grandson, brother, uncle, and friend. He was special in so many ways to so many people […] His family feels an immense loss and will miss Chris’ sweet smile and generous spirit,” the GoFundMe page reads.
Fox News notes that the life expectancy for people with Down syndrome has increased by more than 35 years since 1983, rising from 25 years old to nearly 60. At only 42 years of age, Campbell’s passing came as a shock to many.
About 6,000 babies with Down syndrome are born each year in the United States. It’s thanks to community advocacy for people with the condition that many are able to lead healthy, happy lives in the face of adversity.
If you want to help the Campbell family or read more about Chris’s story, you can find information for his GoFundMe page here.