Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Celebrating our brothers and sisters with Down Syndrome

 Did you know that March 21st has been designated by the United Nations as a day to honour our brothers and sisters all over the world who have an extra chromosome? That means that today is World Down Syndrome Day.

I'm blessed to have several friends and two relatives with Down Syndrome, and I have to say that my life would not be as rich without them. They are true gifts in that their friendships are honest and real, their love of life is contagious, and their personalities light up any room in which I've ever joined them. If you know someone with Down Syndrome, you'll know exactly what I mean. The traditional first day of Spring is a perfect day to celebrate them, don't you think?

Nathan Ball, L'Arche Canada's Executive Director, brought World Down Syndrome Day to my attention through his blog, which you can read here. And he's absolutely right -- all my Down Syndrome friends are great dancers!

Today I'm thinking mostly of my cousin Sarah, whom I've known for all of her 30 years. A natural extrovert, she has the greatest sense of humour, and loves to pull peoples' legs. Everyone is her "favourite." For example, I'm her favourite oldest cousin in Edmonton, a title that can only belong to me. From the time she was small, she was everyone's favourite herself, and now that she's lost her eyesight, personal encounters have become more personal as she likes to hold hands and know people by touch. I don't know how else to describe her except sweet beyond measure. So today I'm sending fond thoughts to you, Sarah, and to my cousin's son, Christopher, and to John, Tim, Patsy, Bethany and Kent, and all your family and friends.

For more information on World Down Syndrome Day, check out http://www.worlddownsyndromeday.org/, and have a good one!

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