Mid and East Antrim Council is showing its support for World Down’s Syndrome Day by lighting up The Braid in Ballymena.
The local authority's headquarters will turn blue and yellow this evening (March 21) in honour of our most exceptional and cherished residents – those living with Down’s syndrome.
And Council offices are set to be awash with colour throughout the day, with staff wearing blue and yellow to work across the borough in order to raise awareness of Down’s syndrome and collect funds for a leading local charity.
An elected member as well as MEA Chief Executive Anne Donaghy are among those within the council who have children with Down’s syndrome.
Cllr Donna Anderson said World Down’s Syndrome Day promotes a vital message that all people with Down’s syndrome must be provided every opportunity to contribute to their community and live valued lives, included on a full and equal basis with others, in all aspects of society.
“I am so privileged and honoured to be the mother of Adam, who happens to have Down’s syndrome," she added.
“The pure love he gives and radiates to those around him is something special to witness and is capable of breaking down barriers of all descriptions.
“He has been raised as part of the community in Ballymena and is well known to many, many people. He has something others don’t - an extra chromosome for loving life to the max!
“It can be a long and sometimes traumatic road for a parent, but your child is your child regardless of Down’s and the other health conditions that can occur alongside it, for example, heart disease.
“These special children given to us need and deserve the love, extra help and dedication to fulfil their quality of life.
“Small things others take for granted are a major achievement for our children which in turn enhances our lives. That pleasure is indescribable.
“I am thankful to council for raising awareness and actively participating in World Down’s Syndrome Day and l hope further advancement can be made once these fantastic people reach school-leaving age where more workforce opportunities can be made.”
Ms Donaghy added: “I’m delighted that we as a council have the opportunity to support one of the fantastic causes that provides essential care and support for those living with Down’s syndrome, and their families.
“I know members of our team at Mid and East Antrim Borough Council have first-hand experience of Down’s syndrome within their own family circles.
“I was deeply moved by Councillor Donna Anderson’s bravery in speaking about her son Adam, who has Down’s syndrome, during a recent council meeting and how dedicated Councillor Anderson is to caring for Adam and pushing for greater awareness and support.
“My beautiful daughter, Andrea, also has Down’s syndrome. I know only too well the challenges and difficulties this can pose and, more importantly, the remarkable strength, drive and unconditional love Andrea brings to me and my family.
“Wearing the colours of the Down’s syndrome awareness campaign is a great, fun way to show support for the wonderful work of the Northern Ireland Down’s Syndrome Association and raise some much-needed funds for their inspirational services. My personal thanks go to all of those who are supporting World Down’s Syndrome Day.”