Today marks the beginning of October, which is Down Syndrome Awareness Month.
Okay, technically, in Canada, we celebrate Down Syndrome Awareness at the beginning of November, but in the States it is for the whole month of October, which we think is kinda cool, so we are jumping on board!
October 1 also marks the first day of something known as the “31 for 21” challenge.
This is my fourth year participating in this challenge, but just as a brief refresher for those of you who may not be familiar with “31 for 21”, here are the basics:
~ There are 31 days in October
~ The medical term for Down syndrome is Trisomy 21 (T21), because individuals with Down syndrome have a 3rd copy of the 21st chromosome.
~ So, for 31 days, the challenge is to blog every day, in order to raise awareness for T21.
~ Hence, “31 for 21”.
This year I’m keeping it simple. Like, really simple.
Joy and Pain.
Two words. Two themes. Two perspectives.
Much of life can be viewed through the lens of these words.
They are words that connect people, forming bonds that supersede individual circumstances and knit people together within the fabric of the larger human experience. My hope for the next 31 days is to share something each day that pertains to one of these words, and in so doing, to connect my own humble story to a stronger narrative that far exceeds the bounds of Down syndrome or disability, but rather encompasses all of humanity in one way or another.
Sometimes I forget that I am very knowledgeable when it comes to the topic of Down syndrome.
I don’t have the education to prove my knowledge. I don’t have the piece of paper or the letters behind my name.
What I do have, however, are credentials that look like this:
I debated whether or not I would participate this year. I am busy. I am tired. I am worn out. I am weary.
At the end of the day, however, I want to continue to spread awareness about Down syndrome.
At the end of the day, I desire to see perspective changes, to see new attitudes and awareness toward disability.
At the end of the day, I will continue to strive to create a world in which my son is accepted, loved, and respected.
So, let’s journey together over the next 31 days.