from Waterford Patch:
For many people, October is all about the pink ribbons of breast cancer awareness.
But for the families of 400,000 people in the United States, this month is also a chance to raise awareness and educate about Down syndrome.
Diane Johnson of Quaker Hill is one of those families. Her 6-year-old daughter, Alivia, has Down syndrome.
“It’s been amazing, I never would change anything,” Johnson said.
Overall, 400,000 people in the United States have Down syndrome, according to the National Down Syndrome Society website.
But thanks to medical advancements, the average lifespan of someone with Down syndrome has extended from 25 years in 1983 to more than 60 today, according to NDSS. Alivia is healthy, with no medical problems so far, Johnson said.
The month is just to highlight the impact of the disease, and raise awareness and funds to help combat it, Johnson said.
But more importantly, it leads to acceptance of the disorder, she said. While years ago, somebody would face discrimination and ridicule, today the Waterford community has been outstanding, Johnson said.
“They’ve been amazing,” she said. “I haven’t had one bad experience.”
Alivia, who Johnson describes as being “bright and vivacious,” has started kindergarten at Quaker Hill Elementary School. She already graduated from the Friendship School, and is a happy, loved little girl, Johnson said.
“She loves school,” Johnson said.
To top it off, Alivia already had her first boyfriend, Max, a typical child her same age. Max and Alivia went through the Friendship School together, spending every second they could with each other, Johnson said. Now, they go to the different schools, but they still see each other, she said.
“They love each other,” Johnson said. “They’re best friends.”