Thursday, October 20, 2011

Thomas Jones: providing inspiration for others with Down syndrome

from CTV Calgary:

In many countries, people with Down syndrome are marginalized.

A Calgary man with the condition was on a vacation in Mexico when he noticed how little was being done for people with the syndrome.

He decided to do something about it.

Thomas Jones is a 41-year-old Calgarian with Down syndrome. He knows how fortunate he is to be living here.

Jones holds a place in his heart for others with Down syndrome, especially those in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

"People are kinda poor and I wanna raise money from that," says Jones. "That's why I'm doing my speeches."

Tom's caregiver, Roberta Groff, says Jones compassion came out of the inequality he saw.

"He has a job, he has everything in life that he would want and he looked and he thought that these people have nothing," says Groff. "So he thought it would be good for him to get involved."

After seeing how little the families in Puerto Vallarta were able to do for their loved ones, Jones set up a foundation to raise money to help.

He makes speeches to groups in Calgary in order to raise money.

When he travels to Mexico he also makes speeches, through an interpreter, to encourage families of children with Down syndrome.

"When I'm making my speech it's helping them to understand who I am," says Jones.

"When I saw him in Puerto Vallarta making a speech to these people that all have children with Down syndrome, I don't think there was a dry eye in the whole group," says Groff.

Jones has also teamed up with other volunteers from Centre Street church to pack suitcases with new clothing to send to families in Mexico. They'll outfit 100 families this fall.

As for Jones, he'll continue speaking on behalf of his foundation to raise money and encouraging people who have Down syndrome.

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