CINCINNATI — When you see things differently, you can change the world — and that's exactly what Drew Leurck does.
The 24-year-old has the cognitive ability of a 7-year-old, but his mom says he teaches her lessons in life every day. For more than a decade, Drew has been spreading joy and words of wisdom through his rainbow drawings. He has one goal: to let people know they're special.
"Drew is often labeled as special, which confuses him as he often says 'mommy, I think everyone is special," Kathy Leurck, Drew's mom, said.
Drew has given out rainbows to more than 10,000 people, and now his mom is hoping to bring even more smiles and conversation with "You're Special," a book she's written filled with Drew's rainbows.
"If people come and get one and they can read it every day, how do you think it will make them feel?" Kathy asked Drew.
"Happy," Drew responded.
To celebrate the book, Kathy and Drew will be at Joseph-Beth Booksellers in Rookwood Pavilion on Saturday for a book signing and "talk." The book is full of words of wisdom and daily devotionals from Drew and people like him that Kathy interviewed.
"I've been to gatherings with Drew, his friends and, you know, they have challenges that we can't even imagine with whether it's physical and wheelchair or cognitively, or maybe it's anxiety or mental challenges," Kathy said. "And they're the biggest smiles in the room. They're the ones encouraging me or giving me advice on how to get through the day."
While Drew was growing up, Kathy and her husband repeatedly refused to listen to doctors that said Drew wouldn't or couldn't achieve in life. To show just the opposite, Kathy's husband painted Drew standing atop those doctor reports for the cover of "You're Special."
Kathy hopes this book can share Drew's insight with the world as he continues to share his rainbows.
"It's them for them to shine. It's their time," Kathy said. "It's time for us to lean in, listen, learn from them. They have a lot to share and we have a lot to be inspired by."
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