WDSD 2017

Today is the 12th anniversary of World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD).  It is a day to celebrate the lives of those born with a third copy of their 21st chromosome, which is why it falls on this day (3/21).

More importantly, it is a day to commemorate the achievements–big and small–of those born with Down syndrome. A day to share that our loved ones with Down syndrome are people with goals and expectations who can greatly contribute to the rest of the world; that their lives are incredibly meaningful and valuable.

March 21 is more than likely an ordinary day for most people, but for those of us living in the Down syndrome community it has been described as a day of celebration.  A celebration of life, love, potential, hope, inclusion and acceptance.  Today we encourage unlimited possibilities in the futures of our children.  We are more proud than ever to share how Down syndrome has touched our lives.  We stand together to remind everyone that we are a strong community based on a sense of togetherness that is moving mountains.

People may honor World Down Syndrome Day in different ways.  Some people wear brightly colored or mismatching socks, while others wear blue and yellow. Some perform random acts of kindness, share videos, photos or blog posts. Some may not acknowledge or celebrate the day any differently.  All of which is just fine.

As for us?  We will be taking blue and yellow treats to my daughter’s annual IEP meeting which happens to fall on WDSD this year.  On a day where inclusion and acceptance takes the global stage, we will be attending an IEP meeting expecting the same for our daughter (thankfully, we are in a place where that happens). How’s that for irony?

Please know what this day may mean to many people out there like me.  Most of us long for the same opportunities for loved ones who carry an extra chromosome–equal opportunities and the chance to show what they are capable of.  A life without boundaries where they are encouraged to dream big and flourish; one where a chromosome does not solely define a being.

Do you know someone carrying an extra chromosome?  Maybe you are a parent, sibling, cousin, teacher or a friend.  If you could tell the world something about the person you know with Down Syndrome, what would it be?

I would say this:  Tessa is a remarkable person.  She is not more or less because she has Down syndrome.  Tessa is genuine, smart and funny; and she has unknowingly taught me a great deal about kindness and compassion.  

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To learn more about World Down Syndrome Day, please visit https://worlddownsyndromeday.org/

You can also make a $21 pledge at Ruby’s Rainbow to help support higher education of young adults with Down syndrome by visiting https://321pledge.org/

Happy World Down Syndrome Day!  

*This post is a collective post of past writings about World Down Syndrome Day on this blog. 

My Name Is…

My name is Tessa.

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I was born with Down syndrome.

I am not Down syndrome.

I am NOT identified by my extra chromosome.

t21

My name is Tessa.

I am not a “Downs kid” or “that Down syndrome girl.”

I am a person…with one big beating heart.

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My name is Tessa.

I have feelings and emotions just like you.

I am expressive.

I have good days and I have bad days.

Sound familiar?

Family Documentary Photography

Photo credit: Studio IV Photography

My name is Tessa.

I am complex and beautiful.

I am simple and sweet.

I am way more than you think you know.

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My name is Tessa.

I am not special because of my chromosomes.

I am not a mistake.

I was perfectly created to be me.

Family Documentary Photography

Photo credit: Studio IV Photography

My name is Tessa.

I am smart.

I am funny.

I am capable.

I am NOT suffering.

I am strong.

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My name is Tessa.

I have family who loves me.

I am accepted, not judged, by my friends.

Credit: Kelsey Jean Photography

Credit: Kelsey Jean Photography

My name is Tessa.

I am NOT a punching bag for the narrow minded.

I am a positive influence in this world.

I have a lot to offer.

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My name is Tessa.  And that is what I like to be called.

***October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month.  We are all about using People First Language–people first, diagnosis later.  People first.  It is simple.  Identify people for who they are, not by what they may or may not have.  This month, I want to encourage people with Down syndrome to represent themselves by using the hashtag #mynameis in hopes to show the world that those with Down syndrome are people first; people who like to be identified by their names, not by their 47th chromosome.***

And a little throwback fun for you…