"People with Down Syndrome they are more like us than they are different."
That was the message at the first annual Dash for DS, organized to set the record straight about the disorder.
"They have different delays that will manifest at different stages of their youth when they are growing up. There are also some birth defects that come with that, specifically with the heart, the thyroid the digestive tract," said Charlie Milburn, whose daughter Lila has Down Syndrome.
The Chattanooga Down Syndrome Society scored big with the event, raising close to ten thousand dollars. Money that will stay in the Tennessee Valley to help this community.
"We have scholarships available to send kids and adults to camp in Chattanooga, various camps that they have for special needs. We also have a grant set up called the Helping Hands for insurance, for medical claims that aren't paid, that parents might have some hard time making those payments so that these children and adults can get therapy and nutritional services," adds Andrea Holmes with the Chattanooga Downs Syndrome Society. Her some Gavin also has DS.
Perhaps more valuable for parents, the chance to prove that those with Down Syndrome can live normal, happy lives.
"It's frustrating as a mom because I want him to be able to talk and to be able to feed himself. As with any other child, he will reach them one day, it just takes a little bit longer for a down's syndrome child," said Holmes.
"They can do absolutely everything that anyone typically developing can do. It just takes them a little longer, takes a little more work, but the results and the victories are that much greater," said Milburn
Victories that often start with a single step.
"There really are more similarities than there are differences, and they are just like us. They've got an extra chromosome bouncing around in there, but that's just more to love."
The Chattanooga Down Syndrome Society
raises around thirty thousand dollars a year to fund their local projects.