“I want to live in a world full of Octobers” This is a quote I have seen on Pinterest and shared on Facebook. I couldn’t agree more for a lot of reasons, the leaves changing, the cool weather, watching football, and most of all the fact that it is Down Syndrome Awareness Month. A month of celebrating some of my favorite people and the joy they bring to the world around them.
Down Syndrome is caused by a Trisomy on Chromosome 21, but it is so much more than a diagnosis. I could sit here and type out the technical definition and the science behind the diagnosis but I have been shown my own definition through countless interactions with people who have become my best friends.
So here is my definition: the ability to love, to bring joy, to have abilities and to be extraordinary.
Yes, by definition they do have an extra chromosome that causes them to have Down Syndrome but they also have extra love, extra joy, and an extra funny sense of humor. My friends with Down Syndrome teach me more about life than anyone else in my life. They teach me to love and be loved, they teach me that no dream is too big, and that kindness changes everything.
It is hard to put into words my passion behind down syndrome, and why I am such an advocate for special needs in general. But, I have just been so lucky to see first- hand what my friends with Down Syndrome really are; world changers. World changers in the way they love, teach, and encourage just by the way they live life. World changers in the way that they choose to see the positives in people instead of the negative.
Having two best friends who have Down Syndrome I get to have first- hand experiences of seeing my friends show the world what they have to offer. I have seen my friends overcome the barriers that society can sometimes put on them. I have seen my friends be celebrated, be loved, and be cared for. I have seen my high school’s football team make my friend Miles feel like a celebrity. I have walked through the hallways of our K-12 school with him while everyone is shouting his name and wanting high fives as he sports his football jersey. I have seen my friend Devin give someone a compliment or a hug just when they need it most, and making them have a better day. I have seen her overcome academic and social barriers through working hard and earning it. I have seen her work in a Kindergarten class and comforting a student who was upset, because she has one of the biggest hearts that I am so lucky to experience.
October is more than just wearing scarves and drinking Pumpkin Spice Lattes, it’s a month of celebrating and bringing awareness the joy that is found in an extra chromosome.