Today, March 21, is World Down Syndrome Day. For many people, this day probably doesn’t have much meaning. But to freshman Grace Borgerding and her family, today is a celebration of her little brother, Finn. The 19-month-old has Down syndrome, and Grace wouldn’t change a thing about him.
As students learn in 10th grade biology, Down syndrome is a genetic disorder that occurs on the 21st chromosome. Abnormal cell division results in extra genetic material from that chromosome.
When talking about the scientific aspect of Down syndrome, Grace said, “ It’s not a disease, it’s not bad. It’s really a gift… it’s just crazy how [the chromosome splitting] could happen.”
Grace talked about how she didn’t know all that much about Down syndrome until Finn came around. Finn has opened her eyes to see that “everyone is equal… it’s good to see that through people [who] have Down syndrome. They’re the same as everyone else.” She loves having him around, and says that “he’s really helped our whole family grow closer.”
According to the National Down Syndrome Society, approximately one in every 700 babies in the United States is born with Down syndrome. That may not seem like all that many, but that’s 6,000 every year. World Down syndrome day recognizes that these people should be celebrated and given the same opportunities as everyone else.
Grace recognizes the unique aspects of Finn’s personality and the fun memories that she has of him.
“He loves reading books… and anything music. He loves music,” Grace said.
She talked about how he knew the actions to all the songs her family sang to him, such as opening and closing his hands to twinkle twinkle.
“I think he’s gonna go places,” Grace said. “He has a lot of potential, he’s really smart.”
Today is a day to acknowledge all those who were born with Down syndrome. Grace talked about how she believes today is “really just about spreading awareness… and so it’s really good to let people know what it is, because it’s not a disease.”