You can raise both money and awareness, says Heather Irish
WE HAVE noticed a lot of great television programmes recently featuring people with disabilities that showcase their full potential. BBC One’s Call the Midwife recently had a storyline featuring a woman with Down’s syndrome and a man with cerebral palsy who fall in love.
Channel 4’s controversial show The Undateables also follows a group of people with disabilities who are dating and trying to find love. It has people watching the show, warming to the characters and talking about people with disabilities who often live on the fringe of society. It shows that people with disabilities just want to be loved and have the right to have relationships just as much as people without disabilities.
Another programme on BBC3, Growing Up Down’s, follows a troupe of actors who have learning disabilities as they set out to perform Hamlet. It also features the actors’ personal lives. The acting troupe provides an opportunity for people with learning disabilities to meet other people, increase their confidence and learn about acting.
These programmes are important because they showcase people with disabilities as people first: people who have hopes, dreams, passions and goals in life. They are included in their communities – free to live their life how they want to live it, whether it’s following their passions to become a councillor, model, actress, business owner, violinist or bilingual (all of which have been accomplished by people with Down’s).
This is what United Nations World Down’s Syndrome Day (21 March) and Down’s Syndrome Awareness Week (17-23 March) celebrates. They celebrate people with Down’s syndrome who have achieved or who are in the process of achieving their dreams – no matter how big or small.
We ask you to join us to challenge the stigma of Down’s syndrome. Whether you want to donate a second or a day of your time, you can help people with Down’s syndrome achieve their dreams.
You can raise awareness by simply wearing socks! We ask that you wear lots of socks or one sock, brightly coloured/patterned socks, mismatched socks, short or long socks on 21 March. Tweet us a photo of your socks @DSScotland #socks.
So whether you’re at work, school or picking up your weekly shopping – wear some silly socks on 21 March! You can even ask people to sponsor you by texting SOCK21 £1 to 70070.
Organise a coffee morning, potluck, bake sale or dinner party. Our fifth annual Do a Dish for Down’s Syndrome fundraising and awareness week runs throughout March. This campaign focuses on food and inclusion. Do you know someone who can organise a coffee morning with friends and community members, hold a bake sale at schools or organise a potluck at work? Visit www.dsscotland.org.uk/dish.
Ask your hairdresser to post our “9 Facts about Down’s syndrome” flyers on their mirrors to raise awareness, or to take a collection box and raise funds throughout the month. Why hairdressers? We would like to raise awareness of Down’s syndrome among women. Contact email@example.com to request a box.
Get glammed up. We’ll be hosting our Scotland with Soul Dinner in Aberdeen on United Nations World Down’s Syndrome Day (21 March). The evening will include dinner, music, dancing, an auction, a raffle and more. Celebrate with us at the Mercure Aberdeen Ardoe House Hotel and Spa. Seats are £60 each and £600 for a table of ten. Book at www.dsscotland.org.uk/ball.
Fancy being tied together with two of your closest friends, family or colleagues? Join our Indigo Social Media Race 21 event in Glasgow on 9 March. Your team of three will be linked together with rope “chromosomes” and you will complete a one-mile course that includes seven checkpoints. You must work together to ensure your team is able to complete the course. You still have a couple of days to register at www.dsscotland.org.uk/Race21. It’s only £5 to enter and you receive a free Race 21 T-shirt.
You can view the free Six Percent photography exhibition at Eden Court Theatre in Inverness throughout March! Breathtaking black-and-white photographs by Graham Miller showcase the intimate moments, relationships and everyday life of Scottish families with a person with Down’s syndrome.
Shona Robertson, our newest family support service officer for the Highlands, will hold weekly family support drop-in sessions at the exhibition, on Tuesdays from noon to 2pm.
• Heather Irish is communications and fundraising officer at Down’s Syndrome Scotland www.dsscotland.org.uk