Tuesday 21 March 2023 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Health, Local, National
The Cook Islands Down Syndrome Association (CIDSA) started the Lots of Socks campaign in 2021 which received “massive” support on island and abroad even getting a few shout outs from the All Blacks.
The idea is to start a conversation, so when people ask you about your socks you can tell them, “I'm wearing them to raise awareness of Down syndrome”, says Jean Nootai the President of CIDSA.
“If you don’t have any socks you can wear blue or yellow to show your support,” said Nootai.
“We’re also encouraging everyone who takes part in this day to share their photos on social media and tag us @ Cook Islands Down Syndrome Association with the hashtag #worlddownsyndromeday
Currently there are seven people living in the Cook Islands that have Down Syndrome, with 1 being a young girl in Nassau.
The association is made up of parents, grandparents, siblings and other family members of those living with Down Syndrome.
Over the holiday period the CIDSA celebrated their Christmas Party onboard the Rehab Party Bus with a round at the Aumata Mini Golf and lunch provided by Charlies Café.
“This was such a joyful experience for our whole tribe,” said Nootai.
“And throughout this year we are looking at different awareness raising activities to further push the message for inclusion.”
This year’s theme is ‘With Us Not For Us’ which is key to a human rights-based approach to disability which views people with disabilities as having the right to be treated fairly and have the same opportunities as everyone else, working With others to improve their lives.
World Down Syndrome Day is a global awareness day observed by the United Nations marked each year on March 21.
The date was selected to signify the uniqueness of Down syndrome or (Trisomy 21) - a condition in which a person has an extra chromosome.
Prime Minister Mark Brown, Ombudsman Niki Rattle and Former Australian High Commissioner Dr Christopher Watkins are the Patrons of CIDSA. President – Jean Nootai, Vice President – Martha Nikoia, Secretary – Amber Numanga, Treasurer – Kura Toru, Members – Liz Nootai, Margret Numanga, Kath Enoka, Tony Enoka and Grant Walker
The committee is encouraging everyone today to choose your craziest and most colourful socks for the Lots of Socks campaign.
Around one in every 800 babies will be born with Down syndrome.
Down Syndrome occurs naturally – there is no known cause usually causes varying degrees of intellectual and physical disability and associated medical issues.