Those who often read the Schooley Mitchell Blog may recognize my name, Christine Wilson. I have been writing articles since June of 2013, and have learned a lot from the experience. Today, I would like to take a moment to discuss another experience of mine and all it has taught me.
In September of last year, my friend Rebekah and I had the opportunity to begin volunteering with an amazing young woman named Steph. Steph has Down syndrome, and my friends and I spend two hours with her every Monday. We go to movies, bake, have dance parties, and basically do all the things you would do with a best friend.
Steph has taught me a lot about kindness and how something as simple as friendship can mean the world to someone. She has also introduced me to a whole other side of myself; a compassion I did not know previously existed. Needless to say, Steph is pretty special to me.
I now also work with two four-year-olds with Down syndrome, named Declan and Moira, to help develop their fine motor skills in a group setting. Through spending time with these awesome kids and their amazingly inspiring mothers, I became aware of the Blue Nails Campaign. The organization based out of Durham Region is focused on Down syndrome awareness.
The Blue Nails Campaign started when Declan was a baby. His mother April asked her friends and family to paint their nails blue to show support for Declan. Four years later this movement, which got its start in Ontario, has gained recognition in 18 countries across five continents. Now, more than 28 mothers of children under five with Down syndrome are on a mission to advocate on behalf of their children, and to “raise awareness about their potential ability, until they are old enough to do this for themselves.“
I am writing this now, asking everyone who reads this post to paint their nails blue this coming March 21 and every year that follows. March 21 is recognized by the United Nations as World Down Syndrome Day, and will be celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2015. The date 3/21 represents the chromosomal condition Trisomy 21, which causes Down syndrome.
For the Blue Nails Campaign, please paint your nails any shade of blue and post pictures on social media to spread awareness for Down syndrome. You can post your pictures to the Blue Nails Campaign’s Facebook Page at https://www.facebook.com/2013bluenailswdsd. When posting the pictures on Twitter, remember the hashtags #BlueNailCrew or #seetheability.
Please spread the word about this date to your friends, family, and coworkers. Something simple can mean the world to someone else. For those with Down syndrome and their loved ones, painting your nails blue is that something simple.