Edinburgh ‘Step Up for Down Syndrome’ leaves RGV residents asking for more change

EDINBURGH, TX (ValleyCentral) – The Rio Grande Valley Down Syndrome Association (RGVDSA) hosted their ninth “Step Up for Down Syndrome” Parade and Walk on October 16th.

The event raised a question with many attendees about what more their communities could do for people with Down syndrome.

Co-founder and president of RGVDSA, Deborah Tomai told ValleyCentral that the event was created with the goal of making people notice the differences in her community.

Nine years ago, the event started with 15 active families, and now more than 70 families have participated in the 2021 event.

“It shows everyone how many kids we have here in the Valley who have Down syndrome and how important it is to include them in things,” said Rachel Livigna, McAllen resident. “They are like everyone else so this is a great opportunity for people to see how great these kids really are.”

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Livigna has a brother, Tommy who is 23, but she and her family have been participating in the event since it started. She added that she has seen changes over the years, but more representation is needed.

“Definitely more inclusion in schools. This is something we fought for with Tommy in school, just to make sure he got the education he needed and got involved with other kids because they want to. be involved with everyone, ”said Livigna.

Edinburgh resident Kassandra Gonzalez agreed with Livigna and also said Down syndrome education should be more publicized and taught in schools. La Feria resident Veronica Aleman wants to see more leagues and programs developed that contribute to inclusion.

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RGVDSA strives for continued awareness, acceptance and celebration. Their 2021 event raised around $ 85,000 which Tomai says will go directly to Down syndrome awareness and families who have a loved one with Down syndrome.

Down syndrome, also known as trisomy 21, is a genetic condition caused by the presence of an extra chromosome that affects individuals’ intellectual capacity and facial features.

The “Step Up for Down Syndrome” event is expected to recur in 2022, but it has not yet been determined whether it will be virtual or back to normal.

For more information on upcoming RGVDSA events, you can visit their website.

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