Philadelphia, PA (PRWEB) March 20, 2013
The Jérôme Lejeune Foundation, USA is proud to join with disability advocacy associations from 11 nations (Spain, Portugal, Croatia, the United-Kingdom, Italy, Germany, Poland, Latvia France, Russia, and New Zealand) in an international campaign to say together:
This week, on March 21st the 2nd official United Nations World Down Syndrome Day will be celebrated across the world. This event aims to raise public awareness about Down syndrome and promote the rights, inclusion and well being of people with Down syndrome in our communities.
With advanced methods of prenatal screening available now in the U.S., and soon coming to other countries, World Down Syndrome Day takes on a singular and urgent dimension. The expanded use of early (10 week) non-invasive prenatal tests for Down syndrome threatens to increase the already staggering number of terminations of pregnancies which are prenatally diagnosed. The expanded availability of these new maternal blood tests will almost certainly cause increased terminations, further stigmatization, and rejection of these valuable members of our communities.
Most countries still lack comprehensive health policies to ensure that families who receive an unexpected prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome are provided with accurate information about positive therapeutic developments and outcomes for those living with Down syndrome. Additionally, efforts undertaken to facilitate integration of persons living with Down syndrome into educational systems and work places remains insufficient.
Parents, first and foremost, need to be provided with a positive and welcoming message when receiving a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome. As a society, we should support these families and encourage them to love, welcome, accept and raise a child with a disability with adequate support. Individuals living with Down syndrome and their families are entitled to the same dignity and respect afforded to any other members of society.
In this newly launched awareness campaign, five people of varying ages with Down syndrome representing diverse cultural and national backgrounds call for the attention of the public and their political representatives. Their goal is to lessen the fear of those in society who are uncomfortable with the disabled, especially those living with Down syndrome. Thanks to their beautiful, mischievous and joyful faces, they witness to all of us that happiness is indeed possible for themselves and their families.
On the 21st March, the Jérôme Lejeune Foundation, USA joins with advocacy organizations world-wide to proclaim the same urgent message: Down Syndrome… SO WHAT!
The Jérôme Lejeune Foundation (Paris/U.S) was founded in 1996 and is the world’s largest private funder of Down Syndrome research, providing some $25 million worldwide. In 2010 alone the Foundation invested $4 million in research, and funded over 60 research projects which together are breaking new ground in both the understanding and management of Down Syndrome, Fragile X Syndrome, and other intellectual disabilities of genetic origin. The Foundation’s mission is based upon three closely joined pillars of activity: research, care, and advocacy, all carried out in a spirit of profound respect for the dignity of all human persons.