March 21st, 3/21, each year is World Down Syndrome Day. It is on this day, and throughout all of October during Down Syndrome Awareness Month, that we encourage people from all walks of life to celebrate and advocate for the advancements for people with Down Syndrome. 3/21 was selected for this day because of the symbolism reflected in the date. The most common type of Down Syndrome is Trisomy 21, a genetic disorder that effects the 21st chromosome by producing an extra copy. This means there are 3 copies of the 21st chromosome where there are typically only 32. It is the most common genetic disorder in the United States with nearly 1 in every 700 babies being diagnosed with the condition.
Although Down Syndrome has existed for thousands of years, with the first known depiction of a person with Down Syndrome dating back to 1515, the true cause behind why it occurs was not discovered until 1959.
There are at least two prominent Republican representatives that have children with Down Syndrome. The first is freshman member Pete Stauber (MN-08) who has a 16-year old son with Down Syndrome. He recently received the 2019 Congressional Champion of Change Award from the National Down Syndrome Society. He is certainly not alone though. Powerhouse Cathy McMorris Rodgers has actively advocated for those with Down Syndrome for many years.
Cathy McMorris Rodgers is perhaps one of the most powerful women on Capitol Hill. She is a female, Republican representative for the great state of Washington. She is also the mother to a young boy with Down Syndrome, Cole. Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers is well known for her advocacy for those with disabilities and for the juggling act she performed when giving birth while in office. Not once, but three times in 2007, 2010, and 2013!