Several times a year, I like to run for a different non-profit: not just to raise funds for that organization’s work, but to raise awareness of the work they do.
Usually I run for smaller (and local Arkansas) non-profits like the Lila Kate Memorial Fund, or the Arkansas Down Syndrome Association.
You can read about my 10 favorite non-profits here.
Many of those 10 non-profits provide a unique service to or for the Down Syndrome community.
All operate in a rural state hit hard by the economic crises of the past 2 decades.
Each can use YOUR help to continue their work, and each has something cool and awesome to tell you about the work they do or the community they support.
One that I’d like to talk to you about is the NDSS, or the National Down Syndrome Society.
I’m an athlete ambassador for this organization, and love the work that they do for kids like my son.
Why I run for the NDSS.
When Fritz was 12 weeks old, a therapist in Texas with whom we started working said:
“Maybe Fritz will be one of the lucky ones and be able to work.”
She was referring to his diagnosis of Down Syndrome, and perpetuating the myth that folks with Down Syndrome cannot function, have lives, earn a living, or just do things.
This statement made me angry at first. When I cooled down and thought about it, I realized that the therapist was just echoing what many Americans believe about Down Syndrome:
People with Down Syndrome cannot function outside of institutions, do not contribute to society, and cannot earn a living.
Since then, I have learned this is not true.
Here is a list of the many things that people with a Down Syndrome diagnosis have done.
Become a professional MMA wrestler.
As I note below, the NDSS is working hard for folks like my son – people who are fully capable of doing great things in this world, making a living and earning a paycheck, held back only by generations of myths which lead us to believe that Down Syndrome is synonymous with “less-than”, “institutionalized” or “non-functioning”.
To support their work, I became an NDSS Athlete Ambassador. Click here to find out how you can become one.
If you are a runner, join up: the huge discounts you get for a variety of running gear is just one of the perks of being an Athlete Ambassador for NDSS. The NDSS Athlete Ambassador private facebook group of runners and athlete ambassadors is another one. I’ve been missing out by NOT being an ambassador all this time.
What is the NDSS?
The National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) takes on the myths that hold back folks like my son Fritz:
They worked to pass a law called the ABLE Act – prior to this act, if a person with a Down Syndrome diagnosis saved more than $2,000, they lost their Medicaid.
They are working to raise awareness of antiquated laws that impede the pursuit of a career or living independently without risking Medicaid benefits.
Remember those annual Buddy Walks? That’s the NDSS.
Please take a few moments and make a donation to support the NDSS.