Nonprofit advocates 21 acts of kindness, inclusion for Down Syndrome Awareness Month

Local News

WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL)— One in every 700 babies born in the U.S. is said to have Down syndrome.

During this Down Syndrome Awareness Month, a local organization is encouraging Texomans to promote inclusion with 21 random acts of kindness.

The number represents the extra copy of the 21st chromosome that causes Down syndrome and, since it is the most common chromosomal condition in the nation, this month The Upside, now in its second year, is raising awareness and encouraging folks to love all chromosomes.

“They love just like we do and they are important just like we are,” Psychology Sophomore Kelce Lemons said.

The “they” MSU Sophomore Kelce Lemons refers to are individuals with Down syndrome.

“Even though they are different they are still good people and they still have feelings and they have families who love them and they need cheerleaders like we do,” Lemons said.

Executive Director of The Upside, Misti Brock, could not agree more and that is why community members are being encouraged to participate in Down Syndrome Awareness Month.

“For the month of october the upside is really focusing on 21 acts of kindness,” Brock said. “This is an opportunity once a year for us to really stress the importance of accepting people with Down syndrome just like they are anybody else and celebrating what they can do instead of focusing on what they can’t.”

“Take two seconds out of your day to say something nice to someone or do your best not to say things that are hateful,” Lemons said.

“It can be anything from a tiny holding the door open for somebody is a random act of kindness, picking up a piece of trash off the ground and putting it in the trash is an act of kindness but it can be bigger than that,” Brock said.

Those who choose to participate can even pay for someone’s drink, or give them a nice compliment.

At the end of the day, the goal is to celebrate kindness and love the differences in those around us.

“Science has changed now we can see that just because they have that extra copy of the 21st chromosome doesn’t mean that they can’t do things,” Brock said.

Both Lemons and Brock agree that this not only promotes good deeds but inclusion and acceptance.

Brock also wanted to add that folks use this month to become more aware of Down syndrome and in doing so, eliminate the use of the r-word.

The Upside is also gearing up for its annual Wind Up for Down syndrome co-ed softball tournament at the end of the month, follow this link for details.

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