Everyone needs one day that they can celebrate! To just be happy and enjoy being exactly who they are. For people with Down Syndrome and those who love them, every day is a day to celebrate.
Those who have been impacted by Down Syndrome, both individuals and family members look at life differently in many ways. March 21st is World Down Syndrome Day. It’s their day to celebrate not only who they are, but everything they can become.
Rockin’ That 23rd Chromosome
If you have ever met a person with Downs, you will quickly learn that the one tiny chromosome that makes them different, isn’t a disability, it’s a blessing. Individuals with Down Syndrome have a unique perspective of the world. Erin Gaskins of Down Syndrome Association of South Georgia understands that and shares it with her daughter Eslea. As the mother of a child with Downs, she has gotten to watch her daughter rock that 23rd chromosome with a passion that most people may not understand. Down Syndrome does not inhibit or prevent her daughter from doing anything she puts her mind to.
Not Disabled, Just Different
“When Eslea was born, everyone told me how blessed I was,” said Erin. While most people are eager to share their horror stories about their child’s disability, Downs or otherwise, you won’t hear any of that from Erin. She said, “Emma (her oldest daughter) taught me how to be a mom, but Eslea taught me how to remove my blinders. It’s okay to be different. People have different everything and she sees that. She just doesn’t care.” Raising any child with a disability is a challenge at times, but the Gaskins have embraced that challenge and crushed it. Erin gets to watch both of her daughters succeed at any challenge they set their mind to conquer and she’s extremely proud of that.
Down Syndrome Association of South Georgia
The Down Syndrome Association of South Georgia was established in January of 2011. “We actually started with it when my daughter was born. That was when we formed the group. My daughter (Eslea) was born in September of 2010 and we started getting together in January of 2011. There were seven of us,” said Erin. Members of the group offered support to one another by providing positive feedback when others tended to be so negative. She said, “It’s amazing to me that in this day and age, there are still doctors out there who are so negative.” The priority for the group was to work together to help one another through many of the challenges they would face as parents of children with Downs. It was also a way for the kids to be able to interact with others, both with and without disabilities.
World Down Syndrome Day
World Down Syndrome Day is March 21st. It is a global event that was established by Down Syndrome International as a way of raising awareness and bringing those who have been diagnosed with Downs and their families together. Down Syndrome International is “committed to improving the quality of life for those with Down Syndrome.” Individuals with Down Syndrome can live meaningful lives and have the ability to impact the lives of everyone they come in contact with.
In Valdosta, the Down Syndrome Association of South Georgia will be celebrating World Down Syndrome Day on Saturday, March 23 at Wood Valley Park located at 2106 Gornto Road. The celebration runs from 11:30 am to 3:00 pm. There will be fun and games for everyone to enjoy!