I’m sure you have seen people who have Down syndrome, or at least know what Down syndrome is. More than 400.000 people in the U.S. have this condition. People with Down syndrome may appear physically slightly different, and tend to encounter medical problems that, with treatment, are usually solved. Kids with Down syndrome need additional help learning, and require more time/patience with some developmental skills. However, these children can improve massively if stimulation is provided in their early days, when they are babies and toddlers. The earlier they start with therapies (occupational, physical, and speech), the healthier and happier the kids will be. This will allow them to attend regular schools, socialize, and live an independent life as adults. The fact is that people with Down syndrome are just as lovable and viable as others, and deserve the same chance. They bring unique lessons to all those around them, and with perseverance they achieve their goals; they are actors (Lauren Potter on Glee), own their businesses (Tim Harris), and even teach school (Pablo Pineda)!
When Valentina Guerrero (a 10-month-old Miami girl with Down syndrome) was born, her mom— Cecilia Elizalde, a good friend of mine— said: “I made it my life’s mission to change the perception of Down syndrome, and show others the real gift that Down syndrome people bring to the world: wisdom.” Cecilia worked hard, and her dreams started coming true. An executive from the Spanish swimwear designer Dolores Cortés fell in love with beautiful Valentina the very first time she saw her. It was decided pretty much on the spot that Valentina had to be the main model of their DC Kids USA 2013 campaign! The rest is history. Take a look at an Ad Week article for more info: http://www.adweek.com/adfreak/miami-girl-down-syndrome-face-swimwear-ad-campaign-142122
Cecilia elaborates: “I myself couldn’t have thought of a better way to start our life campaign than through the fashion world. We live in a society largely guided by appearances, and Dolores Cortés opened the perfect door for us to start delivering our message: through the fashion industry! The Internet and social media have played an essential role in our campaign. International media (in Europe, Australia, Africa, South America, etc.) have published our story because they read it online or heard it through a friend on Facebook or Twitter.
What a great step in learning and accepting the ones with disabilities as part of everyday society! As Cecilia says: “All children deserve the same opportunities, regardless of their physical, economic, social, racial or medical condition.”
I’m certainly a proud friend of Valentina’s parents, Cecilia and Juan. What are your thoughts on this topic?
Author: Marina Kaljaj