World Down Syndrome Day

The World Down Syndrome Day is celebrated every year on 21st March. On this day, people with Down Syndrome participate in various activities and celebrate their acceptance but also fight for their rights and equality. But what is the history of the Down Syndrome and is there any special meaning to this chosen date?

Down Syndrome International chose the date March 21st symbolically in honor of the third chromosome on the 21st pair. The Down Syndrome Day was first celebrated in Singapore in 2006 but today people celebrate it all over the world. One way of supporting this cause is wearing different colorful socks.

The Down Syndrome, also called Trisomy 21, is a genetic disorder created at the exact time of a person’s conception. We all have our features written in DNA, a molecule that builds chromosomes, which are small clusters of protein and each of our cells is made of 23 pairs. People with Down Syndrome have an extra chromosome on their 21 pair. This was first discovered in 1959 by a French geneticist Jerome Lejeune. However the name Down comes from English doctor John Langdon Down whose son had this disorder. Doctor J. L. Down described this occurrence around a 100 years before it was scientifically discovered. This chromosome modification causes physical growth delays, different intellectual disabilities and characteristic facial features that vary form person to person.

People with Down Syndrome had a hard path to acceptance and their lives were much harder than they are today. Although they still struggle in finding equality it is a very important step, not just for them, but for the whole world to have a special day when we can all celebrate our differences and fight for better quality of life. Having one chromosome too many shouldn’t be the reason to have less opportunities.

Tea Toplak

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