Living with Down syndrome
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Cape Town - On Sunday, March 21, the world celebrated World Down Syndrome Day.
You may have asked yourself, what Down syndrome (DS) is, and what it is caused by?
Usually a baby is born with 46 chromosomes, the difference in a baby born with Down syndrome is that they are born with an extra chromosome (chromosome 21). The extra chromosome results in physical and psychological changes for the baby.
Despite a few challenges, people living with Down syndrome live normal lives and are a part of our diverse society.
Tineke Ganz-Malan, who works at the Down Syndrome Association Western Cape, said that the NGO firmly believes that all people have the right to live their lives to the fullest without discrimination.
“We create opportunities for people with Down syndrome to be as independent as they can be. When given the chance, they will surprise you and show you that they are more like us, than we think,” said Ganz-Malan.
Kyli Kriel, 21, who was born with DS has not allowed the condition to limit her. She is a Western Province swimmer who also works in a protective workshop. She feels that she is not different.
“Maybe I am different, because I am Kyli. I like the way that people treat me now that I am older, they must leave me to make my own choices,” she said.
Kevin Boshoff, 26, works in a coffee shop and said that he lives an ordinary and happy life.
“I am no different from other people and I live my life like any other 26-year-old. I have a girlfriend, friends and hobbies.
“At school, some kids would tell me that I’m disabled, but not anymore. Now that I am grown up, I have learnt to stand up for myself and I am able to tell people not to treat me differently if they do so now.
“It is never too late to admit that you were wrong to treat a person with Down Syndrome rudely. It is never too late to apologise” said Boshoff.
Lelanie Pretorius, wanted to emphasise that people living with DS are just like anyone else and that ultimately, we are all children of God.
The enthusiastic young lady said this week, she would be donating blood for the eleventh time in her life.
“Blood is blood, and all blood is good,” she said.