Dear World, I’m just a Human with an extra chromosome, and that’s me in all these pictures.
My Mama says that I’m the most beautiful thing she’s evvvver seen in the whole wide universe! After I’ve introduced myself, you’ll see exactly why I want you to celebrate something amazing with me. So, at the very end here, I’m going to invite you to my special party and tell you how you can help me celebrate right from your living room. It’s super fun!
By now you may have seen me on Television or in Media Articles around the globe. My name is Hannah Grace, and I tell my story of abandonment and how that led to my Mommy’s mission of advocating for my worth and those like me so that the world could see that I am valuable just like everyone else. Can you believe that some people think I’m ‘worthless’ and that my existence is a ‘waste’? People like me are sometimes even called hurtful things like the “R” word. Can you imagine watching some parts of the world on T.V. say things like, ‘We’re trying to eradicate Down Syndrome’ because they choose not to see the value of people like me?
Yes, I was born with something called Trisomy 21, (otherwise known as ‘Down Syndrome’). Please don’t think that makes me insignificant though… In fact, I believe it makes me EXTRA special! The only difference between me and someone who doesn’t have Down Syndrome is ONE extra copy of the 21st chromosome. So I just have three, instead of the typical two, that’s it! I’m just a Human with an extra chromosome, and I think that’s super neat! I’ve even been featured on a magazine cover!
Down Syndrome does cause me to have unique physical features like my pretty almond-shaped eyes, little feet, and superhuman flexibility (I make a great yoga partner btw, haha!). It also means that I may learn a little differently than someone else, but please know that I can and do learn-Hey I’m in Kindergarten you guys! Down Syndrome also means that it may take me longer to verbally communicate than other kids. My muscle tone isn’t as strong as most people, and I have to work 10 times harder to form a single sound, but I will get there in time so please be patient while I work extra hard to do what comes so easily to most.
I communicate a lot with my actions, or even sign language sometimes. And you know what? I like all the same kinds of things you do. I want to be loved and to have best friends, and playdates, and slumber parties. I want to be invited to birthday parties too (because who doesn’t love cake?!). I have all the same emotions as everyone else and I express them well (especially the sassy one, haha!).
Will you please tell your children that the next time they see someone who is differently-abled to just smile, wave, or say “Hi” and maybe even invite us to play? Will you tell them that Down Syndrome is not scary and that people like me love to have friends too?
Will you teach your kids about showing kindness towards those with differences like me? And last but not least, pretty please tell them that I want to invite them to a super fun celebration the whole family can take part in right from your home! World Down Syndrome Day is on March 21st, and families from all over the globe will celebrate loved ones and friends who have Down Syndrome (and hey, you’re my new friend!).
We celebrate by wearing blue and yellow-colored clothes, in addition to wearing crazily patterned and colored, or mismatched socks because they look kinda like our colorful chromosomes. How fun is that! So please help the world see that people like me are worth celebrating too, and post a picture here in the Facebook comments of you and your family wearing your blue and yellow outfits, and/or your crazy socks! It’s like telling me and my extra chromie friends, ‘Hey, we are all more alike than different, and are proud to be your friend!’ Thank you for accepting me for who I am. I am not a diagnosis. I’m just a little girl who happens to have one more chromosome than you do. I am not a ‘Down Syndrome Kid’, I am just…Hannah Grace.