World Down Syndrome Day is this Sunday. The date symbolizes the three copies of the 21st chromosome that causes down syndrome, usually, people only have two copies.
Lauren Shelor is the New River Valley mother of two-year-old Sawyer who has Down syndrome. She said her and her family celebrate what makes her son so special all year long but World Down Syndrome Day is a chance to invite the community to do the same and maybe learn something new along the way.
“People on World Down Syndrome Day are sharing on social media like pictures, videos, stories about their loved ones and I think it just gives someone an opportunity to be invited into our story and be able to know someone with down syndrome,” said Shelor.
Shelor also said she’s noticing a positive change in the perception people have of down syndrome in the media and even in education and hopes that continues.
There are multiple ways you can support kids and adults with down syndrome on Sunday.
The easiest way is by wearing colorful mismatch socks. Not only do they get people’s attention and spark conversation, but the karyotype of DS chromosomes also looks like mismatched socks.
If you want to give financial support, the National Down Syndrome Society is hosting a virtual race. You are welcome to walk, run, swim, hike 3.21, 32.1 or 321 miles to represent the three copies of the 21st chromosome. If you want to register for the race you have to hurry, it ends Sunday. Click here for information.
Katie Ballard, vice president of the Down Syndrome Association of the New River Valley and mother of three-year-old Sutton is celebrating the day and her son by bringing awareness to his classmates.
“I’m taking cake pops to school and a book that just actually was recently published for his teacher to read to the class about inclusion and differences I think it’s super important to start early for kids to talk about,” said Ballard.
DSA of the NRV spreads awareness as a whole on a regular basis. The association gives hospitals and early intervention services packages of information on DSA and resources in the community for any child born with down syndrome in the New River Valley.