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“Just Want To Make A Difference” 

Did you know? 1 in every 733 babies is born with Down syndrome.

Down syndrome is a genetic condition in which a person has 47 chromosomes instead of the usual 46. The British Physician, John Langdon Down, was the first person to describe the syndrome in 1866. The symptoms vary from person to person and can range from mild to severe; upward slanting eyes, decreased muscle tone at birth and a single crease in the palm of the hand are just some of the common physical signs. People with Down syndrome also have delayed mental and social development.

Despite these signs and symptoms, many people with Down Syndrome are able to live life contently and happily. Akhtar Kasia, Father of 7 year old Ayyub Kasia (who possesses the syndrome), agrees by giving us an account of his feelings, “When I was told that my new child had a genetic condition, which none of us had even heard of before, I was enormously shocked and so were my family. Our trust in Allah(God) helped us overcome the initial shock and I have absolutely no regrets at how things have turned out. The first question in Ayyub’s mind, as soon as he returns from school, is “Where is dad?” Upon seeing me he’ll embrace me with the warmest hug and the most loving kiss. This is what makes this whole journey so worth it. Long may this continue.”

 Akhtar’s family and friends launched a campaign in February 2012 to raise funds for a local Down Syndrome support group, based in Bradford. The “Down Syndrome Training & Support Service” is a registered charity run by and for parents and carers of children who have Down syndrome. It offers support and training to all parents and professionals working and caring for children with Down Syndrome. They provide access to various books, resources and software. In addition to this, they organise: coffee mornings, day trips and sports sessions. The support group has the dedicated backing and support of over 90 educational and health professionals.

Akhtar goes on to say, “The “Just Want to Make a Difference” campaign aims to increase awareness about the needs and requirements of disabled people in general. It is therefore not strictly limited to people with Down Syndrome. Unfortunately, it is a sorry fact that many families in our community still have a tendency of hiding away their disabled children from society due to fear or embarrassment; thus hindering the child’s overall development and progress. The lack of social integration and the opportunity to live a normal life is often, consciously or subconsciously, taken away from disabled people. Of course, there are numerous types of disabilities out there and the symptoms do vary but there’s no excuse for not looking to allow your child to reach his or her full potential. Do something positive by taking your disabled child to the park, make arrangements for your child to attend the local madressah or just join a local support group.”

 The Kasia family are firm in their belief that families should not feel ashamed when it comes to requesting help and support for anything in life. The family also encourages all people to get in touch and help raise awareness for this genuine cause. An online page, for people to submit their donations, has recently been set up and is located at . Rest assured, 100% of the total amount raised will be donated to the “Down Syndrome Training and Support Services – Bradford”.