Today marks World Down Syndrome Day. The aim is for those afflicted with the disability and the individuals who have daily interaction with them to organize events and programs that center on the rights, inclusion, and welfare of those with Down Syndrome also known as Trisomy 21.
It was created in 1990 by AFRT, the French Association for Research on Trisomy 21, an association formed for the purpose of research and advancements in the field of Down Syndrome. In 2005, the AFRT observed March 21 as a symbolic day for Down Syndrome. On December 20, 2007, the World Health Organization (WHO) also recognized March 21 as World Down Syndrome Day and it has been observed in the United States since 2012.
Down syndrome is characterized as an abnormality in the number of chromosomes a person is born with. Most people have 23 pairs or 46 chromosomes in total. A person with Down Syndrome is born with an extra copy of chromosome 21.
There are two additional variations of the disability called translocation and mosaicism. Some features of those afflicted include a small stature, slanted eyes that point upwards, flatness in the nose area, and developmental delays to name a few.
Though limited in some aspects of life, these individuals that have Down Syndrome are choosing to thrive despite their afflictions. Keep reading to learn more about them.
The 20-year-old Nigerian and Finnish model was first inspired in 2012 by watching Finland’s version of Next Top Model, “I started practising my walk at home, in front of the mirror,” she told BBC Africa. At the age of 18, she was given a voucher for a photo shoot and it was then she decided to pursue modeling on a professional level after her session went viral. Since she’s had an opportunity to showcase her talents: “I loved doing the catwalk at African Fashion Festival Helsinki” Mattila said.
A former Global Down Syndrome Foundation Ambassador, this spunky 32-year-old is also the sister of Jamie Foxx. Not to be outshined by her big brother, Dixon has aspirations of being a dancer.
19-year-old Eric Ishimwe is an advocate for Down Syndrome in his native Rwanda. Never having the chance to complete his primary education, he teamed up with the Rwandan Down Syndrome International in hopes of spreading more knowledge about the disability. Ishimwe now advocates for the rights of Rwandans with Down Syndrome.
As a cast member of Born This Way, a reality-based television show that airs on cable network A&E, John Tucker hopes to take his rapping skills up a notch. He’s currently working on an album titled “JT: The Project.”