Did you know that Down Syndrome—a disorder that occurs when there is a duplication of the twenty-first chromosome—effects approximately 6,000 babies at birth every year? So on March 21—a date chosen to represent the chromosomal defection found in Down Syndrome (the twenty-first day of the third month)—celebrate World Down Syndrome Day, an event created to raise public awareness, promote inclusivity, encourage advocacy, and support the wellbeing of those living with Down Syndrome.
World Down Syndrome Day - History
AFRT is Created
AFRT—the French Association for Research on Trisomy 21—is founded in order to support research for Down Syndrome.
A Date is Chosen
This year marks not only the first meeting held by AFRT, but also the year that March 21 is recognized as a symbolic day to represent Down Syndrome.
WHO Recognizes the Day
The World Health Organization acknowledges March 21 as World Down Syndrome Day.
The UN Follows Suit
The United Nations supports WHO’s acknowledgement of March 21 and also recognizes this date as World Down Syndrome Day.
World Down Syndrome Day First Celebrated
This year marks the first year that World Down Syndrome Day is to be celebrated annually on March 21.
How to Observe World Down Syndrome Day
1. Get involved
Show your support by attending an event in honor of World Down Syndrome Day or donating to a charity online. Step it up a notch by promoting your involvement on social media with #WDSD18 to inspire others to take the same initiative.
2. Incorporate blue and yellow
As the designated colors of the cause, blue and/or yellow should be utilized on World Syndrome Day. You can show your support by wearing something blue or yellow, icing cupcakes with blue and yellow frosting for schools, decorating an office with blue and yellow flowers or balloons, or filling bowls with blue and yellow M&Ms—it doesn’t matter how you rock these colors, just be sure you do.
3. Organize an event
Take initiative and organize your own event that will raise money and awareness for Down Syndrome. Planning a walk, holding a bake sale, hosting a raffle or setting up a school fair are all fun events that will benefit those with Down Syndrome.
Why World Down Syndrome Day is Important
A. It promotes awareness
Down Syndrome effects approximately 400,000 families in the United States alone. World Down Syndrome Day helps educate the public on what Down Syndrome is and how to encourage those with Down Syndrome to participate in daily activities so they can live a full life and play a vital role in their community.
B. It empowers people with Down Syndrome
The accomplishments and contributions of people with Down Syndrome are often overlooked. However, this event highlights the positive difference they make in their community and gives them the recognition they deserve.
C. It helps raise money for research
Each year, 1 in 700 babies in the United States are born with Down Syndrome. However, the cause is still unknown. By donating to Down Syndrome charities, you’re having an impact on those currently living with Down Syndrome and helping get one step closer to finding the cause.