Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Celebrating World Down Syndrome Day 2012

Today is World Down Syndrome Day.

Humans are comprised of chromosomes...23 from our mom and 23 from our dad for a total of 46.  The chromosomes are paired and are the building blocks of each of us.  These chromosomes dictate who we are, from the color of our hair, the color of our eyes, shape of our body and more.

On an occasion, a person will end up with a set of three chromosomes.  When there are 3 of chromosome number 21 then the person is then said to have "Down Syndrome".  Because of that extra third chromosome the 'building blocks' so to speak will be a little different.  People with Down Syndrome have different facial features such as almond shaped eyes.  They may also have low set ears, one crease on their hands and they may have congenital heart defects.

Trisomy 21 is one of the most common trisomies.  There are other more lethal trisomies all numbered according to the chromosome that is affected.  You may know someone with trisomy 21.  These children tend to be loving and kind.  They may have learning difficulties or need special education.  Yet, they can and do make a mark on society.  
I have had the privilege of caring for a few trisomy 21 babies and have become friends with their parents.  Emma Jane is one of these girls.  She is bright and funny and a blessing to her parents.  Is she different?  Sure, but aren't we all just a bit different in our own way?

Today, March 21st has been deemed World Down Syndrome Day. 
 3/21 - get it?  Three of chromosome 21.  
According to the National Down Syndrome Society, today was chosen to honor these special people:
"World Down Syndrome Day was established in 2006 by Down Syndrome International, with the goal of raising awareness and mobilizing support and recognition of the dignity, rights and well-being of people with Down syndrome across the world. March 21, the 21st day of the third month of the year, was chosen to symbolize the third copy of chromosome 21 present in Trisomy 21, the most common form of Down syndrome. This year, World Down Syndrome Day is especially significant as it is the first time that the day will be officially observed by the United Nations."

Hug your favorite Down Syndrome friend today!
And don't forget to tell those parents of these children what an awesome job they are doing raising a child who is just a bit different.
Hugs to you Emma Jane and Penelope!!

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