Friday, March 19, 2010

WDSD: A Day to Celebrate, Make Changes Happen, Reflect and Remember

Today is World Down Syndrome Day. 3/21. Get it? 3 copies of the 21st chromosome = Down syndrome. Cute and catchy, just what’s needed to build awareness! Today also caps off Down Syndrome Awareness Week, which was from March 15th to March 21st. The only thing better would be if this was also Down Syndrome Awareness Month, but unfortunately that month is shared with and overshadowed by Breast Cancer Awareness Month, in October. Ummm…who do we talk to to get this changed?? Is there some sort of council that makes these designations?

At any rate, I will be celebrating today by choosing the 37 models for the 2010 DSANV calendar, along with a friend and fellow DSANV mom who has volunteered to help me with the project this year. An appropriate and timely activity, I think. It’s funny, in the e-mail I sent out for the call for models, I said that I would be doing the drawing on the 21st, not even realizing the significance of the date.

Samantha doesn’t know that it’s WDSD today. She doesn’t know that she has Down syndrome, or that she’s at all different. And she certainly doesn't know what a chromosome is (heck, I barely do!). I make my resolution on this day that I will teach her to be strong and independent as she grows up, and to embrace her differences. I resolve to show her the way of self-advocacy, but allow her to make her own decisions about the things she wants to do and how she wants to do them (within reason, of course). I will teach her to love life and the people around her, and to forgive ignorance. I will continue to educate the people around us about the possAbilities of people with Down syndrome, and to pave the way for all of the opportunities she should be entitled to have and to choose from as she grows up to be the amazing woman I know she can be.

Today is also a day to remember the past, and to be thankful that the lives of people with Down syndrome have changed so dramatically in as short a time as just the last two decades. It’s a time to reflect on how things could have been, without the medical advances, resources and social conscience of today. One of my non-Ds blog friends (but fellow heart-mom), Amber, wrote a touching and heartbreaking post about a funeral she recently attended for a cousin. This cousin had Down syndrome, and had spent her life in an institution. A lack of physical or mental stimulation resulted in her abilities reaching no farther beyond those of a 3-year old. She was 32. Tragic. And important.

I am grateful. Every day. For SO much.


evrfwd said...

i am so lucky to know you and your family. love ya sammi!

stephanie said...

Lovely post Becca! I love the title. We are responsible aren't we. It's up to us to make changes happen.

Carol N. said...

Love this Becca - both the words and the photograph.

Love to Sammi please!

Amber said...

Beautiful post!
Thank you so much, for sharing Anne's story!

RobMonroe said...

I love this post in every way.

How did the photo fun go?

Bethany said...

I heard you picked the calendar names ... can't wait to take some pics!

BTW, October is DS and BC awareness month, not November. Haha! :)

Becca said...

Ah, thanks for that, Bethany! I've fixed it. LOL