Show a Little Extra Love for an Extra Chromosome
Lindsy Benish, Label Coordinator for Regulatory & Data Management
March 21 is recognized as World Down Syndrome Day. A date cleverly chosen as 3/21, because people with Down syndrome (also known as Trisomy 21) were born with three copies of the 21st chromosome instead of the usual two. This is a day to celebrate and raise awareness of what Down syndrome is, and how people with Down syndrome play a vital role in our lives and communities.
Until two years ago, this celebration of an extra chromosome wasn’t on my radar.
Because it wasn’t until two years ago that I became the mother of a child with Down syndrome.
The on-call neonatologist approached my bedside, and with a concerned look on her face, she said, “I’m sorry, but your baby is showing signs of Down syndrome, almond shaped eyes, low muscle tone…” I honestly don’t know what she said after those words. Everything became a blur. I looked up at my husband, terrified of what this meant, and all I remember him saying over and over was “it’s going to be okay.”
I never knew I would become part of entirely new community, one whose members are supported and enriched by the extra chromosome that binds us. While embarking on this unfamiliar journey, I found support through a couple of non-profit organizations, the Down Syndrome Connection of Northwest Arkansas (DSCNWA), and the Down Syndrome Diagnosis Network (DSDN). I have met the most amazing people—people who lift each other up when it’s needed most and people who share their trials and triumphs so we can all grow from those experiences together. And these incredible people are part of my life because of Claire.
When I heard about Tyson Foods’ DisAbility and Accessibility Awareness Business Resource Group (DAABRG), I knew I had to join. I currently serve as the group’s Community Outreach Pillar Lead in Springdale, AR. It’s a wonderful place where we can connect with others who have similar stories, and it’s so important to find local resources for your child or loved one with a disability. I encourage other team members to join so we can continue building awareness, advocating for others with disabilities, and providing the necessary resources to create real change.
Join us on Thursday, March 21 for World Down Syndrome Day and “Rock Your Socks!” Wear brightly colored socks, mismatched socks, or any kind of fun socks in honor of our friends that rock an extra 21st chromosome. Make sure to snap a pic and share with us on social media using the hashtags #WDSD2019 and #DAABRG.
Published March 20, 2019.
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