With World Down Syndrome Day 2019 here, I found myself pondering how the word AWARENESS has such a different meaning to so many. I for example thought of it in the context of biomedical research and how to raise ‘parental’ awareness on the importance of why we do what we do. Over the years I have read some parents comments in various sites arguing why they would not support DS research believing the objective is to change their child somehow and alter their personality. Thankfully though most parents are very well aware of the necessity of research in order to address medical condition common to DS so they can live healthier longer lives.
This is the point my brain went off on a tangent and began pondering an even deeper point. Whatever ‘awareness’ may mean to you, chances are you’ll do your best making others ‘aware’ of what you hold dear. Think of all of our amazing self advocates fighting to show their abilities and value in our current world, breaking preconceived ideas. Or parents fighting for their child’s rights in school, to gain employment and to have the same value and respect everyone else is afforded. Consider the parents that have fought medical professionals throughout their pregnancies because doctors were more comfortable ending a pregnancy based on a screening tests and ignorance surrounding DS. How about the army of soldiers we have fighting daily for change, progress, rights and the health of those with DS through government and the media? Or those making the effort to train medical staff on proper terminology and care in all situations that have failed in the past.
They all have one thing in common, they have taken the baton from those that went before them and are continuing to make a difference. Those of you that find yourselves blazing a trail, your shoulders will no doubt be the ones stood on by those who follow. So, whether you find yourself “Standing on the shoulders of giants” that went before you, or you’re blazing a trail through the thick brush, know this….. what you’re doing matters and you are all giants. We have a mighty voice and passion for those we love and we have good reason to celebrate our day… Happy World Down Syndrome Day 2019 from the Downs Syndrome Research Foundation UK family!