This year Bundaberg’s Kaylee-Jayde Wallace will help raise awareness about Down syndrome as she takes on the role of Celebrate T21 Ambassador.
Celebrate T21 advocates, supports and empowers families with a prenatal or postnatal diagnosis of Trisomy 21, also known as Down syndrome.
The three-year-old with an infectious smile is part of a prestigious group of national ambassadors helping to spread the word for World Down Syndrome Day on 21 March.
Kaylee-Jayde’s guardian Allison Schultz has shared her granddaughter’s journey in the hope that it will help to increase community understanding of the condition.
“The point of the campaign is to show that people with Down syndrome are just like everybody else,” Allison said.
“These kids are wonderful.
“They can have, and some do have differences, but they still bring so much joy to everyone’s life.
“Kaylee is so strong, she has an amazing bond with her cousin Layla, and she has a remarkable relationship with her great-grandfather Ken – who is 89 – they just adore each other.
“There is a certain smile they get when they see each other.”
Allison said in her first three years Kaylee-Jayde had already undergone more medical procedures than most people would in a lifetime, and she thanked the Celebrate T21 team for the support they had given them.
Kaylee-Jayde keeps fighting
As well as Down syndrome, Kaylee-Jayde was diagnosed with a heart defect, and she has a complex medical history including having suffered two strokes.
She has already undergone several major heart surgeries.
“It’s amazing to know what Kaylee has been through and to see that she just keeps fighting,” she said.
“Last time she was in hospital they said ‘this was it’ for her. But she is our little fighter, our heart warrior and she does not give up.”
Raise funds for World Down Syndrome Day
World Down Syndrome Day is held annually on 21 March to raise global awareness, officially observed by the United Nations since 2012.
March, the third month, was selected to signify the uniqueness of the triplication (trisomy) of the 21st chromosome which causes Down syndrome.
The Bundaberg community is being called on to rock their socks for T21 Day to help raise awareness and support for people living with Down syndrome and their families.
Allison said she hoped the community would pull up their socks to support the cause.
“The reason why we use the socks to fundraise (is because) under a microscope, chromosomes look like socks,” Allison said.
“We chose for Kaylee to become a Celebrate T21 Ambassador to help increase the understanding of T21, Down syndrome.
“Fundraising is a big part of the 21 March campaign; the money provides family of newly diagnosed T21 families with support – this support really is wonderful!
“They are helping to rewrite the narrative surrounding Down syndrome.”
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