In Canada, Down Syndrome Awareness week is November 1 thru the 7th and I’m pretty excited about the things we have been working on for this week. We are doing random acts of kindness all week, giving presents and inspiration with little notes about Down Syndrome to random strangers. It isn’t a huge fundraiser and the presents may not be too glamorous but it is something. It is putting forth the effort to teach people, one person at a time. And if we get to make someone’s day and teach our kids the value of good deeds then it’s a win on all fronts.
As I was putting together the little gifts, I started thinking about the terms awareness and acceptance and what they mean for me. Putting thoughts to the words, I believe they are not just about knowing what Down Syndrome means but knowing what it doesn’t mean. It doesn’t mean that Ellie is not a person, it is not a brand name that is attached to everything she does, it doesn’t mean she should be babied or pittied, it doesn’t mean she should be given excuses or not included. Acceptance isn’t just about being nice to someone who has Down Syndrome, it’s about realizing there are many many things beyond a diagnosis. It’s realizing that Ellie can chose to be: a friend, a wife, a student, a graduate, an employee, an innovator, a public speaker, a dancer, a singer, an entrepreneur, a writer, an artist, and whatever she sets her mind to. Not limiting people with Down Syndrome to be defined by words on a medical chart is what acceptance is to me. I believe that within Ellie’s lifetime people will hear of those with Down Syndrome doing amazing things and they will not be surprised. They will not feel sorry for people with Down Syndrome because there is nothing to feel sorry for. Acceptance is embracing our differences and being richer because of them. Happy Down Syndrome Awareness Week!
I’ll post pics of our random acts all week but here is a pic of a few things we have ready!