October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month and celebrates the significant contributions people with Down syndrome make to our communities.
Traditionally the national fundraising and awareness campaign, StepUP!, gives people with Down syndrome, their families and their supporters a chance to come together to celebrate, while increasing community perceptions and understanding of Down syndrome.
This year, COVID-19 has made live StepUP! events problematic, with government restrictions limiting the opportunity for social gatherings. As a result, a national online fundraising and awareness event, #21YourWay, will accompany StepUP!
Through #21YourWay, people can choose a challenge during the month of October – it may be to walk 21 minutes a day, bake 21 cookies, send kind messages to 21 friends, or follow along with a #21YourWay Ambassador’s challenge or people can simply donate to support another individual’s challenge.
It’s about showcasing individuality and the contributions people with Down syndrome make to our communities.
Down Syndrome Queensland CEO Darryl Steff said, “This year’s campaign is really focussed on breaking stereotypes. Not all people with Down syndrome like music, are happy all the time, or like to hug people – they are individuals.
“We want to show that people with Down syndrome are unique, and that no one should be stereotyped. #21YourWay is about doing things your way. The #21YourWay activity that you select should reflect who you are, and what you stand for.”
Why 21? Most people have 23 pairs of chromosomes in each of their cells (46 in total). People with Down syndrome have 47 chromosomes in their cells. They have an extra chromosome 21, which is why Down syndrome is also sometimes known as trisomy 21.
All funds raised will assist Down Syndrome Queensland to continue their work in supporting and empowering people with Down syndrome to have full access to social and economic inclusion.
Visit www.21yourway.com.au for more information and resources.