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World Down Syndrome Day is set for March 21

This year, the theme for WDSD is “With Us, Not For Us"
Angela is between her sister, holding her oldest nephew, and her mother, holding her youngest nephew.

Each year, March 21 is World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD), which signifies the uniqueness of three copies of the 21st chromosome that causes Down syndrome (DS).

It results in a total of 47 chromosomes instead of 46 and can affect how brains and bodies develop. Also called Trisomy 21, it affects 95 per cent of people with DS. The other five per cent have other forms of DS, but not trisomy 21.

This year, the theme for WDSD is “With Us, Not For Us.” Initiatives include encouraging communities to move from the outdated charity model in which people with disabilities were treated as objects of charity, deserving of pity and relying on others for support.

Three approaches include:

• Human rights-based views of people with disabilities as having the right to be treated fairly and have the same opportunities as everyone else;

• All organizations include people with Down syndrome;

• Decision-makers commit to involve organizations representing people with Down syndrome in all decisions.

Angela is 38 and commits to these approaches in her daily life. With her family and friends doing the same, they are making a difference. She is a proud aunt to a niece and two nephews and enjoys reading to them and playing with them.

Angela and her friends like to hang out, shop and go out to lunch. For physical activity, they enjoy swimming at the TCC in winter and in her pool in the summer. A regular activity she likes doing with friends is going for walks in the many parks and trails in Kamloops.

To relax, Angela listens to music and does arts and crafts. hgtr

Angela has a Kamloops This Week newspaper route and works one morning a week at a pharmacy. This job offers Angela independence, self-esteem and, as Angela says, “I like the discount where I work, too!”

COVID-19 has reduced the employment opportunities for Angela, as it has for many people. 

She is enrolled with an online Down syndrome organization, where she takes three-to-five-week courses in which she can interact with other students and instructor. One of the course activities is workshop groups to discuss relationships and feelings in different situations. She really enjoys the interaction with other people and peers, especially during the pandemic, when sheltering was in place.

Of all her jobs, activities and hobbies, Angela most enjoys her association with the TRU WolfPack women’s soccer team. Her future brother-in-law is coach and he offered her the position of equipment manager two years ago.

We should all promote inclusive environments and support them every day, not only on March 21. It is important and necessary to prepare and enable teens and adults with DS to live, work and join in with confidence and independence, fully included in our communities alongside their friends and peers.

Tell your friends, family and work colleagues about WDSD and encourage them to be inclusive of all people with special abilities.

Happy World Down Syndrome Day. For more information, check out the Thompson Nicola Ups and Downs Society Facebook page or email