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Inaugural World Down Syndrome Day – March 21, 2013

Circle 21 Coordinates Canada’s Celebration of Inaugural World Down Syndrome Day in Toronto with Special Evening Event Showcasing Down Syndrome Accomplishments

(Toronto, Ontario) March 21, 2012 – Circle 21 is delighted to announce the United Nations has designated March 21st as World Down Syndrome Day. The date is significant (3/21) as the genetic condition Down syndrome (DS) results from a triplication of the 21st chromosome. The aim of the day is to raise awareness and understanding of this condition affecting 1 in 691 births in Canada.

Circle 21 will coordinate Canada’s celebration of World Down Syndrome Day Wednesday March 21st 2012 with an event, 7 to 10 p.m, at Todmorden Mills (67 Pottery Road, Toronto). The event hosts individuals with DS, their family, friends, the medical community, educators and supporters. Representatives from organizations that support DS will attend, including Canadian Down Syndrome Society, Down Syndrome Association of Toronto, L’Arche, Centennial, Surrey Place Center, etc. This event showcases the abilities and accomplishments of persons with DS, including an art display featuring works by artists with DS, refreshments by Lemon & Allspice a caterer employing individuals with DS, and screenings of short films featuring DS. Individuals with DS and their families will be available to speak to media.
Non-invasive prenatal testing to conclusively determine whether DS is present has recently been approved and will soon be available in Canada. Mothers considered high risk will no longer endure invasive procedures that increase miscarriage risk. The community supporting DS worries that testing will significantly reduce or eliminate future population of individuals with DS. Parents of children with DS are routinely asked, “Did you know your baby would have Down syndome?”

Karen Meredith Blott, founded Circle 21 after her fourth child was born with Down Syndrome. She says, “Initially, I didn’t respond particularly well. My husband, on the other hand said, ‘We’ve always wanted a kid in the Olympics – how much more wonderful it will be to have a kid in the Special Olympics!’ As a type A, perfectionist type, I had to relearn that a whole new world of perfect exists. That’s why Circle 21 is responding to the UN invitation for World Down Syndrome Day – to support families and the community as they celebrate their children.”

Founded in 2012, Circle 21 is comprised of individuals with DS, family members, friends, caregivers, researchers, organizations and others interested in DS. Circle 21 is committed to implementing a National DS registry to identify the estimated 35,000 to 45,000 Canadians with DS. Circle 21 focuses on health, education, employment, independent living, and peer-support-networks. While many organizations work hard at the local level to help people with DS, Circle 21 adds national and global resources, working with government, corporations, non-profits and others to coordinate significant, positive changes in the systems that support those with DS and their families.

Contact: Karen Meredith Blott or Leslie Diening: 917-863-0030