I was out grocery shopping the other day and saw a little girl with Down Syndrome walking around with her parents. She couldn’t have been more than four or five, and she had a huge smile on her face. I saw that her shirt proclaimed in bright blue letters “Look at how I’m rocking this extra chromosome!” and I too couldn’t help but smile just as big. Her parents noticed me looking and we shared a smile as well and continued on our ways. It was just a little moment, but that little girl completely made my day.
October is Down Syndrome Awareness month and unlike things like cancer and heart disease, this awareness cause is slightly different. While doctors are obviously curious about the cause of the disease itself, and would like to better detect it, many parents with children who have Down Syndrome admit that even if medical advances were made to eradicate the condition, they wouldn’t change their child for anything. They proudly wear down syndrome awareness products year round, connect with other families of children with the condition, and have built a very strong, very loving community. And based on the family I saw out shopping, I’m not sure I can argue with them for wanting to keep their families just the way they are.
Everyone is born different, and we all have to learn to embrace those differences. Children with Down Syndrome are different as well, but are just as important and amazing as anyone else. They go to school, have jobs, some live on their own, and lead productive, happy lives. And while research is still working towards increasing the quality of life for individuals with Down Syndrome, that seems to be the main push-not eradicating the condition, but making sure that these individuals can lead healthy, happy lives. I for one will certainly wear down syndrome awareness products in support of that.