Down Syndrome Awareness Week – Julia and Tom’s StoryFriday 17 March, 2023
20th-26th March marks Down Syndrome Awareness Week, a week where people come together to advocate for the rights, inclusion and wellbeing of people with Down Syndrome. This week, Real Life Options join organisations around the world in talking about, and raising awareness of Down Syndrome.
To kick start the week we spoke to Julia, our Head of Operations (South England) whose brother Tom has Down Syndrome.
Over the past 5 years, Julia and Tom have worked together as a sibling duo, taking part in research with The University of Cambridge. The research study, called ABC-DS aims to better understand the links between Down Syndrome and Alzheimer’s disease and involves brain scans, blood draws, and quizzes and puzzles.
Julia says that participating in the research has given her a broader understanding about Down Syndrome and Dementia, and says some of the information learnt has been useful to share with her Real Life Options staff teams who support people with Down Syndrome.
Research would not be possible without people like Julia and Tom volunteering to participate, and plays a vital part in raising awareness, and changing perceptions of Down Syndrome. Julia has seen various changes throughout her career and says, “even in the last couple of years, people with Down Syndrome are getting more public recognition”, with the likes of James Martin recently becoming the first person with Down Syndrome to win an Oscar.
Don’t forget, Tuesday 21st March marks World Down Syndrome Day and you can do your part to raise awareness of Down Syndrome by getting your socks on and wearing your craziest socks as part of the #LotsOfSocks campaign.