Nov. 7 was the last day of Canadian Down Syndrome Week, a week we were reminded of in a guest column by Dave Ralph, president of the Thompson Nicola Ups and Downs Society, in the the Nov. 4 edition of KTW (‘Down Syndrome Week a chance to remind all to include all’).
After the introduction, the next four paragraphs of the column deal entirely with the negative aspects of the “disorder.” Subsequently, the tone of the article becomes much more positive, speaking of support and inclusion.
The photo I cherish the most is of our now 16-year-old grandson with Down Syndrome, Iain, in which he is in cross-country ski wear, sporting the sign “See the Ability.”
The column mentioned the “unique challenges” for those with an extra 21st chromosome, but any family member of a DS person will tell you of his/her unique attributes.
In Iain's case, it's his developed upper body strength, suited to the climbing gym and chin-up bar. Then there’s the unconditional love and acceptance, his freely given smile and hug that unfailingly greet you at the door.
We have learned to see his abilities before his disabilities and celebrate him as a complete and gifted person.
How sad that more than 80 per cent of unborn children diagnosed with DS lose their lives through pregnancy termination, never having the chance to bless us with the beauty of their lives.
During Canadian Down Syndrome Week, and always, let us uphold all in the DS community, born and yet to be.