Ah, March. March didn’t mean a lot to us 10 years ago. We were anxiously awaiting the birth of our “bonus baby” in April, and busy getting his room ready for the big arrival. Little did we know that he had a surprise waiting for us, and that March would come to mean a LOT to us in coming years.
Caleb arrived 3 weeks early, on the Ides of March (the 15th), 2007. We found out the next day that our family was one of “The Lucky Ones”, as families who have children with Down syndrome have been nicknamed in recent years. The year after his birth, we started to hear talk of a celebration of sorts on March 21st. Something about 3/21, and its significance in the world of Down syndrome advocacy groups.
Apparently, in 2005, the French Association for Research on Trisomy 21 (AFRT) decided to choose this symbolic date to hold activities that would help raise awareness of people with Ds. Along with the European Down Syndrome Association (EDSA), and Down Syndrome International (DSI), this date was adopted to support awareness and “well-being” events for people with Down syndrome. It took a number of years before the United Nations came on board (2011), to declare March 21st “World Down Syndrome Day”.
Since that time, awareness events and celebrations surrounding this date have grown significantly. Most Down Syndrome support groups have parties, and encourage their families to share stories, and advocate for their loved ones (or themselves). Some families wear crazy socks, some wear custom t-shirts. Some hold parties, and some do kind deeds in the name of their family member (or themselves, if they happen to have Down syndrome). Blue and yellow cookies and cupcakes are shared at work and school, worn on bracelets and hair bows, even shoelaces. Walks and runs are held, advocacy days as well. If you are interested in participating in an event to celebrate WDSD2017, please check the website of a local Down syndrome association, or even that of a national organization. The National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) is hosting their inaugural 2017 “Racing for 3.21” that day, a virtual event, which encourages participants & advocates to “move for 3.21 miles on March 21 to celebrate World Down Syndrome Day and raise awareness for the Down syndrome community.”
March 21st, World Down Syndrome Day, is a wonderful time to enjoy our “second family” – those who are also in “the Club” – and share with others that there are certainly many reasons to celebrate Down syndrome, and all it brings to our lives. We’ll be wearing out blue and yellow that day-hope you will be too! #theluckyfew #worlddownsyndromeday #wdsd2017