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World Down Syndrome Day

Feb 23, 2021 09:40PM ● By Natalie Caudle

A Beautiful Extra

February/March 2021
By Natalie Caudle

Every March, the world pauses to celebrate Down syndrome and the beautiful people who have been born with a little extra. 

On March 21, joyful participants around the world clad their feet in silly socks as a way to honor those who rock three copies of the 21st chromosome. Down syndrome was named after John Langdon Down, who officially categorized the common traits of Down syndrome. Each person with Down syndrome develops at their own rate and reaches goals based on individual potential, coupled with family and community support. Oftentimes Down syndrome is described as a hidden blessing, with families calling themselves “the lucky few” as they have been given a unique lens with which to see and experience the world. 

Tina Salvador of Fresno adopted her daughter from China in 2015 at age 7. Salvador is passionate about advocating for her daughter and the perception of people with Down syndrome. “It’s hard work but the greatest thing ever,” Salvador says. “Their lives are valuable and they are worthy of living a life with all the things available to them just like anyone else. She’s the way we should all strive to live, in the moment and so very forgiving. We could all learn a lot from people with Down syndrome.” 

The beginning of the journey into the world of Down syndrome can be full of unknowns and fear for new parents. The Down Syndrome Association of Central California helps families as they adjust to their new normal. In 2014, Kayla Mora of Visalia gave birth to her daughter, Teegan, who was given a diagnosis of Down syndrome and sent to the neonatal intensive care unit. With her world swirling and needing help in navigating her new reality, Mora found the Down Syndrome Association of Central California in Fresno and can’t speak highly enough about the organization. “We utilized some of the classes, and it was great meeting all the parents and hearing their experiences and knowledge,” she says.

The association offers resources and opportunities to families and caregivers. Workshops, support groups, fundraisers and events are peppered throughout the annual calendar. Serving six counties in the Valley, the association supports families and advocates and educates the community about the blessing and complexities of Down syndrome. Executive Director Jennifer Whiting has devoted her time over the last eight years to create a network and community where support, resources and hope can be found. 

Though celebrations may look a little different this year for World Down Syndrome Day, Whiting has organized a happy at-home hoopla. “Down Syndrome Association of Central California is so sad we can’t celebrate World Down Syndrome Day together, but we are excited to partner with two amazing local restaurants for a grab-n-go pasta feed in celebration on March 21,” Whiting says. “We can all kick our feet up in our wacky crazy socks and eat some amazing food separately, but together.” To participate in the fun, dress yourself in silly socks and visit www.DSACC.org. •

Down Syndrome Association of Central California

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