Celebrating World Down Syndrome Day

Celebrating World Down Syndrome Day

By Lily Mae Ivatt-Oakley

World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD) is one of my favourite days of the year, along with my birthday and Christmas! I love to celebrate WDSD because it is a day when people with Down Syndrome are celebrated worldwide, which makes me feel really special. It also makes a nice change because sometimes I feel judged by the cool kids at my school for being different and having a disability, and I feel that if they knew more about it, they could recognise how amazing I am. 

WDSD is celebrated globally on the 21st March because Down Syndrome is caused by having a third copy of the 21st chromosome so 21/3 was a good day to choose. 

Every year since I was a baby, my family took me to the BUDDY WALK in Auckland to celebrate this special day. The whole Down Syndrome community and their families all come together and have a big fun walk around Mt Eden, followed by a festival gala at the park. 

Lily, a young woman with blonde hair is posing for a photo. She is wearing sunnies and a strapless pink top.

I have always loved to perform, so I have given speeches and danced on the stage at the festival. It gives me a chance to show everyone that I am capable and confident. I like to inspire other families that have new babies and younger children with Down Syndrome to have hope for the future for their own children. 

I am proud of who I am, and I am also proud of the other performers at Buddy Walk. They inspire me too! The whole point of having WDSD is to be inclusive and raise awareness of how awesome people with Down Syndrome are. I think it is a cool disability to have, and I can certainly relate to it.

The more we talk about Down Syndrome and are out there in the community, the more people are going to understand that we are more alike than different.

In the last few years, we haven’t been able to celebrate WDSD because of Covid, and I think this year will be the same again. But I will make sure that my family and I do something special to celebrate. 

Lily, a young woman with blonde/light brown hair is posing for a portrait.

 All image credits: (Lily Mae, 2022)

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