March 21 is World Down Syndrome Awareness Day – an opportunity for people with Down Syndrome to share their story and show the world how they participate in the community.
From volunteer work to sport and recreation, people with Down Syndrome have a variety of interests and abilities.
Cessnock’s Jason Rasmussen, 27, volunteers at Richmond Vale Railway Museum and for a recycling program at Hunter River Community School.
Jordyn Threlfo, 23, of Sawyers Gully, is well-known in the Cessnock and Maitland CBDs for his errand business Jordy Can Do Errands For You.
Jordyn’s sister Jessika, 20, loves to cook for her family, and also enjoys tai chi, yoga, singing and rock ‘n’ roll dancing.
Shannon Smith, 39, lives at Finding Yellow (formerly Cessnock Hostel), works for Caloola Vocational Services mowing lawns and likes to go to the gym.
All four play ten pin bowls at Maitland, and Jason and Jordyn also play lawn bowls once a week.
Their families say World Down Syndrome Awareness Day is important because perceptions need to change.
“People still think people with Down Syndrome are all the same, but they are just as different as everyone else,” Jason’s mother Suzanne said.
“And they are just as capable,” said Dee Threlfo, mother of Jessika and Jordyn.
“Each has a different strength. They’re all individuals.”