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"We shouldn't have to fight for our children's right to exist" - Harrogate mum speaks out on World Down Syndrome Day

"We shouldn't have to fight for our children's right to exist" - Harrogate mum speaks out on World Down Syndrome Day

Published at 7:04am 21st March 2019. (Updated at 8:39am 21st March 2019)

On World Down Syndrome Day, a Harrogate mum is determined to change misconceptions about the condition. 

  • A Harrogate mum is determined to change misconceptions about Down's Syndrome
  • Wendy Puckrin is joining a global campaign today to raise awareness of Down's Syndrome
  • Her son, Elijah, who's five, has Down's Syndrome - she says he might not be here today if she'd heard all the negativity about the condition
  • Find out more about World Down's Syndrome Day here

Wendy Puckrin is mum to 5-year-old Elijah, who has Down's Syndrome.

Wendy told Stray FM if she had heard all the negativity about the condition before having Elijah, he might not be here today.

She said:

"There are all sorts of misconceptions - they include that children with Down's Syndrome are always happy; that people with Down's Syndrome will never achieve anything; that they will ruin your life and be a drain on society.

"And that they're always ill and have huge medical conditions.

"This is just not the case."

Wendy and her son Elijah
Wendy and her son Elijah

In the UK, it is legal to terminate after a pre-natal diagnosis up to forty weeks.

Wendy added:

"There are women who have been booked in for terminations without even requesting them.

"There are people who feel bullied into terminating despite stating they do not want to terminate under any circumstances.

"It's horrendous."

Even the terminology around the condition can be damaging - the charity Down's Syndrome Association has issued guidance - to say that someone "suffers from Down's Syndrome " is offensive.

Instead, you're asked to think of the person first - for example, John has Down's Syndrome.

Wendy added she wouldn't change a thing about Elijah.

She said:

"He's my little guiding star and I want him to grow up in a world where acceptance and inclusion is the norm.

"Elijah has an extra chromosone and he's perfect.

"I wouldn't change a wispy hair on his perfect little head."

To raise awareness, today people across the world will be wearing brightly coloured, mismatching socks - because chromosones look a bit like them!

The one circled (below) is is Trisomy 21 - also known as Down Syndrome. People with the condition have an extra one.

chromosones
Trisomy 21 - also known as Down Syndrome

To find out more, visit the Down Syndrome Association charity website.