Statement from Hon. Tobias C. Enverga, Jr. for World Down Syndrome Day

Written by Canadian Down Syndrome Society
Wednesday, 25 March 2015

We would like to share this message from Hon. Tobias C. Enverga, Jr. for World Down Syndrome Day. Thank you for taking the time to meet with us, Senator Enverga!

Hon. Tobias C. Enverga Jr

2nd Session, 41st Parliament, Volume 149, Issue 126

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Hon. Tobias C. Enverga, Jr.: Honourable senators, I rise today, as I have every year since my Senate appointment, to mark World Down Syndrome Day this past Saturday, March 21. The focus on the tenth anniversary of the day is "'My Opportunities, My Choices' - Enjoying Full and Equal Rights and the Role of Families."

Honourable senators, as the organization Down Syndrome International states, persons with Down syndrome should have choices, be able to make decisions and have control of their lives. To do this they need access to the support they may require to lead independent lives and to be accepted and included as valued, equal and participating members of their communities. The most important of these is employment — gainful and meaningful employment.

Honourable senators, less than two weeks ago I had the pleasure of meeting with representatives from the Canadian Down Syndrome Society. They were all members of the board of directors, one of whom has Down syndrome herself.

This young woman, Dewlyn Lobo, volunteers part of her time here on Parliament Hill, and her colleagues in the Member of Parliament for Brant, Ontario, Phil McColeman's office attest that "she is awesome!"

Honourable senators, the delegation I met with came with no request in hand. They came with one purpose only. They came to inform parliamentarians about their work, to show how they work with and not for their members, and they came with stories of how their members with Down syndrome, and other persons with different abilities, can contribute just as any other person, as a taxpaying, salary-earning, independently living person. One proof of this is the not-for-profit Avalon Employment Inc. which has ensured over one million hours of paid employment for their clients with various companies in Newfoundland alone.

Honourable senators, we have the opportunity in this chamber to do our own small part.

The Friends of the Senate program gives local high school students with different abilities some much-needed workplace experience by volunteering in senators' and Senate directorates' offices. I encourage you to take part in the initiative, to open your office doors and to ensure the Senate's commitment to people of all abilities.

Celebrate World Down Syndrome Day with us!

Written by Canadian Down Syndrome Society
Friday, 20 March 2015

It's World Down Syndrome Day (March 21)! World Down Syndrome Day gives people around the world the opportunity to recognize and celebrate the contributions made by people with Down syndrome. Today, we are revealing the 2015 Canadian Down Syndrome Heroes!


Canadian Down Syndrome Heroes

For the last four years, the Canadian Down Syndrome Society has selected Heroes for World Down Syndrome Day. These Heroes were nominated by our members and supporters. We chose five great people who inspire their communities to "See the Ability". They represent a new generation of leaders in the Down syndrome community. The 2015 Heroes are (in no particular order):

hero-avatar_emilyEmily Boycott from Milton Emily is a 31-year-old accomplished rhythmic gymnast who has represented Canada at the World Summer Games in Athens, Greece and Shanghai, China. She is currently training for the 2015 World Summer Games in Los Angeles. Emily also works at Boston Pizza in Milton and volunteers with numerous organizations.

Emily was nominated by the Halton Down Syndrome Association (HDSA). Leanne Tovey, Chair of HDSA wrote: “Emily is an amazing daughter, sister, aunt, friend, volunteer, employee and athlete…She gives back tenfold to her family and community. She is a treasure - she is a hero.”

hero-avatar_meganMegan Allard from Spiritwood

Megan is a 17-year-old avid volunteer. She has lead many successful fundraising campaigns for Saskatchewan's disability community. Megan is going to donate her awarded $500 for being a Hero to the Saskatchewan Association of Community Living (SACL) to support the Fusion Inclusion program.

“Megan has been a huge part of the success of our programs in her community of Spiritwood. She has taken a leadership role with our Fusion Inclusion program, which promotes inclusion,” said Carolyn Ganes of SACL in her nomination letter.

hero-avatar_michaelMichael Meehan from Stittsville Michael is an 8-year-old whose positive spirit and inspiring attitude has helped him persevere through his diagnosis of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. This has not deterred him from becoming a leading fundraiser who has helped raise thousands of dollars for CHEO. Michael is donating his award money to the CN Cycle for CHEO campaign.

“Michael has not necessarily been dealt the fairest hand in life but he has made the most of it and has helped others in the process. Michael lives his life in such a way that no one sees a disability. They only see a bright and happy 8-year-old who is bravely fighting cancer. He is our hero,” wrote his father, Joe Meehan his nomination.

Angel Magnussen from Port Alberni
Angel is a 19-year-old who started an initiative called Hugginz by Angel, that sends personalized blanket to sick children. She has raised over $100, 000 for numerous children's charities in Canada.

“Angel gives me hope,” wrote Lisa Woodin, who sent in a nomination letter for Angel. “As the mother of a special needs child myself, I know that my son is going to have to go out there and find his place in the world. Angel has shown me that he too someday will be able to find his place and that comforts me.”

hero-avatar_andrewAndrew Banar from Windsor Andrew is a 22-year-old who started his own company called Group Hug Apparel, a T-Shirt company that gives proceeds to various children-focused organizations and charities.

“He is a hero, not because he has Down syndrome and because of his business, but because he goes above and beyond to make the world better for those who are facing challenges,” wrote Dianne Sedore-McCoy, who nominated Andrew. Sedore-McCoy is the grandparent of a child with Down syndrome. “With role models like Andrew, I am confident that my granddaughter will have a place in this world and be accepted for who she is.”


The Heroes will be given a $500.00 grant to put toward their education, a special goal or project, or to donate to another organization of their choice.

Congratulations to our Heroes and thanks to the Heroes Selection Committee who had the hard decision of choosing just five! Click on any Hero's name above to learn more about them.

Other World Down Syndrome Day Initiatives

Not only are we celebrating Heroes, but communities around Canada and the world are celebrating this great day with parties, events, and Lots of Socks! What are you up to? Post it on our Facebook page or Tweet it to us. We'll be sharing and retweeting throughout the day. Use #SeeTheAbility and #WDSD15.

And while you're at it, share and tweet Down Syndrome International's "My Opportunities, My Choices" video, featuring 50 countries from around the world. Canada's clip features Johanna Dias! Make sure to also check out The Canadian Down Syndrome Society's 2015 "See the Ability" Photo Montage.

To celebrate World Down Syndrome Day on Saturday, CDSS has released a new video titled 'If you listen, you can see a lot.' It features Alana Gersky, self-advocate (adult with Down syndrome) and member of VATTA, CDSS's steering committee. Her message is simple for all Canadians: See the Ability. Watch the video below:


We hope you have a wonderful World Down Syndrome Day. See the Ability!

See the Ability Slideshow

Written by Canadian Down Syndrome Society
Wednesday, 18 March 2015

March 21 is World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD).

World Down Syndrome Day is a global awareness day which has been officially observed by the United Nations since 2012. The date - March 21 - represents Trisomy 21, the chromosomal arrangement in people with Down syndrome.

Visit our World Down Syndrome Day subsite for the details!

For WDSD, the CDSS office is celebrating the abilities of Canadians with Down syndrome, watch our "See the Ability" below:

World Down Syndrome Day: If you listen, you can see a lot!

Written by Canadian Down Syndrome Society
Wednesday, 18 March 2015


See the Ability with Alana Gersky on World Down Syndrome Day!

March 18, 2015. People who have Down syndrome can achieve the impossible. This is what Edmontons Alana Gersky wants to share with Edmontonians and Canadians on World Down Syndrome Day (March 21).

To celebrate World Down Syndrome Day on Saturday, CDSS has released a new video titled If you listen, you can see a lot. It features Alana Gersky, self-advocate (adult with Down syndrome) and member of VATTA, CDSSs steering committee. Her message is simple for all Canadians: See the Ability.

I think my ability is to make a difference, to let people know that people with Down syndrome have no limitations, no matter what, Alana says in the video.

Alana has volunteered with the Canadian Down Syndrome Society as a member of VATTA since 2014. She contributes to the VATTA self-advocacy blog (, speaks at national conferences and represents CDSS at various events.

Alana is an active member of the Edmonton community. She volunteers at an extended care facility, volunteers with the Edmonton Down Syndrome Society, participates with Special Olympics Edmonton, and attends classes at the Nina Haggerty Centre for the Arts.

World Down Syndrome Day gives people around the world the opportunity to recognize and celebrate the contributions made by people with Down syndrome. World Down Syndrome Day was officially ratified by the United Nations in 2012. Events will occur across the country, celebrating the lives of people with Down syndrome.

About Canadian Down Syndrome Society:

The Canadian Down Syndrome Society (CDSS) is a vital resource linking individuals, parents and professionals through advocacy, education and providing information. ­The Canadian Down Syndrome Society is proud to be the voice of Canadians with Down syndrome and their families. Visit for more information.


Media inquiries?

Corrine Grieve at 403-270-8500 (ext 205)

From the University of British Columbia: Prenatal Testing Experience Study

Written by Canadian Down Syndrome Society
Wednesday, 11 March 2015

University of British Columbia

\Would you like to participate in a project about your experience of prenatal testing?

Researchers at the University of British Columbia are interested in talking to mothers about their experiences of continuing a pregnancy after prenatally receiving a screen-positive result or diagnosis of Down syndrome until delivery of their child.

We want to hear your experiences and views about what it is like for mothers to receive positive results of prenatal screening or diagnosis, how you made your decision to continue your pregnancy, how your post-diagnostic adjustment evolves over time, and what support or services help your adaptation and preparation for the birth of your child.

Your knowledge and experience may help support parents when they receive a screen-positive result or diagnosis of Down syndrome and choose to continue their pregnancy. The results also could help improve clinical practice and other support systems to better meet the needs of parents in the future.

We are looking for women who:

  1. Received positive results of prenatal screening/diagnosis of Down syndrome for their child and decided to continue the pregnancy
  2. Have children ranging from 11 weeks to 5 years old at the time of interview;
  3. Are the biological mothers;
  4. Are over the age of 18;
  5. Have basic spoken English skills.

Download the PDF version.

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