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World Down Syndrome Day 2024: End the Stereotype

March 21, marks World Down Syndrome Day, a date thoughtfully selected as the 21st day of the 3rd month to represent the uniqueness of the triplication of the 21st chromosome that causes Down syndrome.

In line with this year’s theme, End the Stereotypes, we talked to Craig, Lisa, and Dustin, three people with Down syndrome that DASCH supports, to hear about the countless ways they defy stereotypes.

Meet Craig

Craig pictured with his many medals received during his athletic career.

Craig, 53, is an easygoing, humble guy who loves his family and friends deeply. He talks casually about his many accomplishments, including a 25-year career at MTS and being a skilled athlete.

Craig is now retired but speaks very fondly of his time at MTS. He says he loved the work and made many friends along the way.

The only thing Craig might love more than his family and friends is sports.

When he was younger, Craig was a Special Olympics athlete in soccer, curling, and floor hockey – and won several medals along the way!

Though he doesn’t play anymore, he still enjoys watching games – especially the Winnipeg Jets and Blue Bombers – but says he loves soccer, football, curling and hockey equally.

When asked what he was most proud of, he didn’t hesitate to answer, “My mom. She’s the best woman in the world.”

He continued to name many family members, along with his roommates and staff, most notably Cheryl, the supervisor who works in his home.

Craig has been a part of the DASCH community for 20 years and says he can’t remember a time when he didn’t feel supported by the people around him and that they have always believed he could accomplish anything he desired.

Meet Lisa

Lisa at DASCHWorks
Lisa at DASCHWorks.

Lisa, 45, makes everyday life colourful and shines bright with her bubbly personality and infectious energy.

As a proud aunt, Lisa loves sharing stories about her niece and nephew. She enjoys cheering her nephew on at his hockey games or swimming with the siblings in her parents’ pool.

Perhaps her favourite thing to do with them is to go on an ice cream run. (Lisa’s go-to flavour is chocolate chip cookie dough!)

Lisa’s sweet tooth doesn’t discriminate. She also loves to bake cookies, cakes, and apple crisps (“I LOVE apple crisp,” she says). You name it, and her roommates and support staff will bake it. The sweetest part is sharing the freshly baked treats together.

Early to rise, Lisa attends DASCHWorks, where she enjoys working on data entry, improving her typing skills, filing organization, and assembly jobs like peg design and bolt assembly.

DASCHWorks prepares people for employment, and we look forward to when Lisa can apply the skills she’s working on at a job.

But it’s not all work and no play for Lisa. At DASCH Recreation Program events, you’ll often find her at the heart of the dance floor, lighting up the room as she busts a move.

Lisa’s life doesn’t come without challenges, but she moves through it with a big smile  – making it hard to not smile along with her.

Meet Dustin

Dustin with his impressive collection of ribbons and medals won for track and field (and there’s even more we didn’t capture!)

Chances are high Dustin, 33, could beat you in a sprint. He is, after all, a track and field extraordinaire who’s won countless races and amassed quite a collection of ribbons and medals.

He’s been in track and field since he was a kid and remains dedicated to attending practice twice a week at the University of Manitoba.

Dustin is a busy, hard-working guy – though admittedly not a morning person – but that doesn’t stop him!

When he’s not racing around the track, he attends DASCHWorks, goes swimming and bowling every week, and always makes time on the weekends to visit his family.

He likes helping his mom cook and listening to music with his dad – something he says they’ve bonded over since he was young.

At DASCHWorks, Dustin is exploring his interests to determine what kind of job he’d like to pursue. Most recently, he’s been polishing up his computer skills: typing, answering emails, and putting together PowerPoints, working on delivering top-notch customer service, and writing a resume and cover letter to land him a job.

Look out for Dustin: coming soon to a workplace near you!

Looking for more World Down Syndrome Day content? We can’t recommend this show-stopping ad, featuring Canadian actress, advocate, and model Madison Tevlin enough!