World Down Syndrome Day

shutterstock_117700018Down Syndrome South Africa is calling on South Africa to join the rest of the world in recognising World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD) today, 21 March 2014, as a way of promoting the rights to happiness and wellbeing of those living with Down Syndrome. The emotive “Dear Future Mother” campaign, was launched globally in time for World Down Syndrome Day, encourages moms not to be scared. Vanessa dos Santos, National Executive Director of Down Syndrome SA, says that the 21st March is the chosen date as 21/3 represents the 3 copies of chromosome 21 which are unique to people with Down syndrome.

“Down syndrome affects approximately 1 in 800 births worldwide and it is important to promote the inherent rights of persons with Down syndrome and demonstrate that they may enjoy full and dignified lives and be active participants in their communities and society,” she says. She goes on to explain that Down syndrome is a life-long genetic condition from conception and all people with Down syndrome will have some degree of a learning disability but some can even go on to live a full and semi-independent life.

The TV clip developed by Saatchi & Saatchi Italy in time for WDSD was inspired by an email from a pregnant mother expecting a child with Down syndrome, sent to the Italian Down ,Syndrome advocacy group, Coor Down. The appeal in the email was particularly touching as the mother-to-be had discovered her unborn son had Down syndrome, asking: “What kind of life will my child have?”

The people interviewed on the YouTube video assures the mother that her son’s life will be happy, just like theirs: that he will be able to go on and live a life like any other and experience everything any other child would.

The official hash tag for the Dear Future Mom campaign is #DearFutureMom. The film can be viewed via the link at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ju-q4OnBtNU

For more information on World Down Syndrome Day please visit www.worlddownsyndromeday.org