Happy World Down Syndrome Day! To celebrate, a local Down syndrome awareness group that was planning its first ever dash is now taking the dash VIRTUAL! They are also celebrating by spreading love and awareness at local businesses.
Upside Downs, a local Down syndrome awareness organization, will be hosting their Dash in the virtual realm. Today, March 21, run a 5K anytime before 5 p.m. and log the run through Strava. You can run any where you like, in your own neighborhood, all over the world. Dashers can walk or run .11 miles. (Read our full story on how you can participate here: https://www.houmatimes.com/lifestyles/upside-downs-3-21-dash-goes-virtual/)
Founder Beau Brooks announced this morning in a heartfelt video that Upside Downs is suspending all fundraising efforts during this time of crisis. He asks that you instead support the local small businesses that have supported them over the years.
In the live Facebook video, Brooks kicked the effort off by ordering $321 dollars worth of breakfast goods from Donut and Deli in Thibodaux, and paying it forward, asking Meg to give the now paid for food to anyone who comes through the drive-thru this morning. He also covered free donuts for anyone who stops in today with Down syndrome.
In between stops at Donut and Deli and Bourgeois Meat Market, Brooks shared how their efforts have changed in light of the situation our country is facing.
“The Coronavirus has rocked everyone’s world. Today is usually a day that we get out into the community, go into the schools, and talk about Down syndrome, celebrating our differences,” Brooks shared. “With social distancing and staying under 50 people, we had to cancel our huge event planned for today. I thought this was the perfect opportunity to get out into our community and support those who have been supporting us since day one. We all know this will financially impact so many small businesses.”
Brooks explained his hope is when someone goes to one of these local businesses and receives a free donut or ground meat, they will know they are receiving this gift because of a Down syndrome organization. “They may never have thought of Down syndrome or heard of Upside Downs, and now they will.”
“We’re trying to make the best of the circumstances that we’re all in right now. If you get too caught up in social media right now it can get depressing. We are using today to celebrate and see happiness and the Upside of Down syndrome,” shared Brooks.
The virtual event will continue throughout the day. Heather Olivier kicked the event off by singing the National Anthem at 8am. Heather and Blake lost their son Owen, who had Down syndrome, when he was a day shy of one month old. They were the recipients of a new parent box, called Ella’s Endeavors, through Upside Downs.
At noon, Nonc Nu & da Wild Matous will perform live on Facebook, followed by a performance by Marc Broussard at 1pm. Stay tuned to their Facebook page all day for more giveaways, prizes and celebration of our differences!
“I want people to take this opportunity to see the Upside of Down syndrome,” said Brooks. “Just because someone has Down syndrome, doesn’t make them that much different than us. It might just take them a little longer to do things but they are more like us than different. When they are given the opportunity, they can be a wonderful part of our community.”