MEMPHIS, Tenn. — March 21 is World Down Syndrome Day.
On this day, families and organizations raise public awareness of what Down Syndrome is and how people with Down Syndrome play a vital role in our lives and communities.
Diane Grover said her 15-year-old daughter, Mary Ellen, is the glue that holds her family together.
“On a regular, she’s going to come up and tell you jokes and she’s spunky,” Grover said.
Mary Ellen was born with Down Syndrome.
Down Syndrome is a genetic disorder usually associated with physical growth delays, intellectual disabilities, and characteristic facial features.
Grover said there is often a misconception about the disorder.
“The day most of us give birth to a baby with Down Syndrome, most of us are told ‘We’re so sorry to hear that your baby has Down Syndrome’ and it’s very doom and gloom,” Grover said.
This is why she is partnering with the restaurant Strano by Chef Josh for a World Down Syndrome Day Event.
“We are inviting families to come here and celebrate with us,” Grover said.
“A free event, free food, free face painting, photo booths, and giveaways. We’ll be giving away socks because rocking your socks is a part of World Down Syndrome Day.”
Josh Steiner is the owner of Strano by Chef Josh.
He said it’s important for his restaurant to give back to the community.
“Seeing her daughter go through some hard times and good times and I’ve seen how I can help out and I can see how it can go above and beyond and be a bigger thing than just Mary Ellen,” Steiner explained.
“We’re trying to support so they can benefit from it by providing food and a place where they can have a watch party for events and things like that.”
Grover hopes the event will help to spread awareness about Down Syndrome.
“There are situations where families feel that they are not supported if they have loved ones with Down Syndrome,” Grover said.
“So, the awareness that this creates will hopefully give an opportunity for these families to have their voice hear.
Grover is the founder of Dreamers Gives Back Foundation.
The nonprofit is dedicated to increasing training for those who are seeking employment.
The World Down Syndrome Day event at Strano by Chef Josh is March 21 at 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
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