Wednesday, March 21, 2012

World Down Syndrome Day

Today (3/21) is World Down Syndrome Day.  A date chosen to represent the three copies of the 21st chromosome that individuals with Down syndrome (like Kennedy) have.  World Down Syndrome Day was created to help recognize individuals with Down syndrome and the important role that they play in our community.  Whether that be in the United States, Europe, or any other foreign country.  Down syndrome exists everywhere.  I had a lot of plans for what we would do to celebrate World Down Syndrome Day today.  Unfortunately, life happens, and plans change.  We aren't home, and I haven't had time to make Kennedy a cute shirt or finish the slideshow I was working on, so I'm just going to write.

Prior to last year, I had never heard of World Down Syndrome Day, and quite honestly I didn't know much about Down syndrome.

That changed on February 19, 2011.  The day that Kennedy was born, was one that rocked my world in ways I would never imagine.  I will never forget when my Midwife told me she suspected Kennedy had Down syndrome.  I'm not going to sugar coat it.  I thought my life was over, I thought that all the things I dreamed of and hoped for were coming to an end.  I was scared.  I had no idea what to expect.  I didn't know much about Down syndrome.  And sadly, no one at the NICU educated us.  It wasn't until I got home and started to connect to other parents that I started to see it wasn't as "grim" as I thought.  I quickly started to learn, Kennedy was just like any other baby.  She ate, slept, and played just like any other baby.  We had our struggles.  Early Intervention, weight gain struggles, and a heart defect that resulted in open heart surgery at 4.5 months old.  But more than anything, life was "normal."  Especially once her surgery was over.  We went on vacation, out to dinner, play dates, and did the things we always dreamed we would do with our daughter.  I wish someone had told me on the day she was born, just how normal life would be.  And just how much Kennedy would teach us, and change us as people.  She has taught us what is truly important in life and has taught us how to be better people.  She has touched the lives of many and brings a smile to the face of everyone she meets.

Kennedy has Down syndrome.  But Down syndrome doesn't define who Kennedy is.  She is beautiful, happy, smart, determined, stubborn, and sometimes she can even be a handful.  She has taught us unconditional love.  She has taught us to open our eyes and our heart and she has helped our friends and family, as well as strangers understand more about intellectual disabilities, like Down syndrome.  She has changed perceptions and taught lessons.  She makes mommy and daddy laugh and cry from joy every single day.  She has taught us to celebrate the little things, and to appreciate what we have, and not stress over things that aren't so important.  She has taught me what really matters in life.

Individuals with Down syndrome have more opportunities today than they did 20 years ago.  And I hope that in 20 years, Kennedy will have even more opportunities than are available today.  I feel a sense of hope and pride every time I read a story about someone with Down syndrome doing something exceptional.  I just know that will be Kennedy.  I don't know what it is that she will do, that's obviously up to her.  But I know that she's going to do something amazing with her life.  All individuals should have the same opportunities, regardless of whether or not they have an intellectual disability.

I'm asking that you please help me spread the word to raise awareness for Down syndrome.  Today is World Down Syndrome Day, but that doesn't mean that it doesn't matter all the other days of the year.  Please help educate your family and friends, so that the rest of the world can see how wonderful people with Down syndrome are.  Help make the world a better place for these individuals.  Kennedy and all of her friends with Down syndrome will thank you for it.

Happy World Down Syndrome Day!!!!

To learn more about World Down Syndrome Day visit this site.


  1. Happy WDSD Kennedy! Love, Cora

  2. Happy WDSD Miss Kennedy!

  3. Happy World Down Syndrome Day Miss Kennedy. Gramma loves you so and I know that you have changed my life in so many wonderful ways. I miss you so and can't wait for you to get home so we can visit again.
    Love Gramma xoxoxoxoxox

  4. Happy World Down Syndrome day Kennedy. You are such a joy to see in pictures. I hope one day I could meet you in person. I know how much your mommy and daddy love you.. Your smile is infectious. Keep doing what you are doing and make your parents pride.

  5. I can't wait to see all the things we accomplish! Happy WDS Day! Love, Hailey

  6. Ellie tried to wish Kennedy a happy WDSD earlier, but got thwarted by proving she's not a robot! :)