Jason Humphrey celebrates World Down Syndrome Day.
Participants gather to celebrate World Down Syndrome Day.
Community celebrates those with down syndrome
The first World Down Syndrome Day celebration was held in Emery County on March 21. This is a day that's celebrated throughout the world for the recognition of those with down syndrome and their families.
The event was held at the Emery County Recreation Center. Gentry Jacobsen was the host for the evening. She welcomed everyone to the event. She thanked everyone for coming and thanked the businesses for their donations.
World Down Syndrome Day was started in 2012. The bright, yellow shirts everyone wore recognized the date 3-21 and announced what the event was about. Those attending had worn their shirts all that day and had many people in the community ask what it meant.
Jon Sorensen explained the down syndrome website has a lot of important information about down syndrome day and you can join down syndrome international. Sorensen said, "People with down syndrome play a vital role in our lives. A lot of times we wish other people knew what we were experiencing." He said on the website you can nominate people for awards for what they do for those with down syndrome. You can share stories on the website. Down syndrome day is a chance to let people know what it's all about and to let them ask questions. Sorensen said he had several people ask him what it meant as he was out and about that day.
Jacobsen said when she told people what was happening with the event in our community they were very impressed and said it was awesome to celebrate these members of our community. "Today the entire world is celebrating," said Jacobsen.
All of the children as well as adults with down syndrome were introduced and told a little about themselves.
Jaisley is 9 and lives in Orangeville, she loves the colors orange and yellow. She loves to sing and dance and eat ice cream.
Cindy loves the color pink and is 45 years old and lives in Castle Dale.
Justin Humphrey is 29 and lives in Orangeville. He loves music and loves his nieces and nephews.
Jared Humphrey lives in Orangeville. He loves country music. He loves food.
Tait Levanger will be 2 years old in July. He loves books and reading.
Brylee Sorensen will be 3 in August. She lives in Castle Dale with her family. She loves to pull hair and play with her twin sister.
Breezy Sorensen likes books. She will be 3 in August. She loves to play with her twin. She loves books, pulling hair and playing dress-up.
Mandi Bennett is from Ferron. She loves her mom and dad and her brothers.
Jena loves her mom and dad and brothers and sisters. She is 27 years old.
Jennifer Tuttle lives in Orangeville and loves to color.
Seth is 4 years old and likes school and likes to beat-up his sisters.
Josh Bennett loves to farm and raise hay. He loves the Special Olympics.
Some of the families of those with down syndrome spoke to the group. One of Jared and Justin's aunts said she has been going to activities for Jared and Justin for a long time. She is very proud of them. She is very proud of this community for coming together and she thanked all of the mom and dads for their hard work in taking care of these angel children from God.
Tami Bennett said on KSL.com there is a message from a mom who has a down syndrome child. She shares what it's like and the blessings that come. She encouraged everyone to watch that clip. Mandi is the glue of their family and keeps everyone together.
Tammy Allred works in early intervention and goes into the homes to work with these children.
Miss Emery, Jaicelyn Shakespaere sang two songs for the children. One was At Last and God Bless America.
After dinner there was a talent show. Teyah Sorensen and her twin sisters performed a dance and gymnastic routine.
Jena Johnson performed a dance to "Grease Lightning."
Jared Humphrey and his niece Jaylynn Lindley sang a country song with some help from Mandi Bennett.
Marni Levanger, a Zumba instructor taught the children a fun dance to conclude the talent show.
Tiffany Sorensen shared a poem.
She said, "I am so honored and blessed to have two special down syndrome children in my life. I am thankful for the joy they have brought to our family. I am grateful to my husband and family. I want to thank Jessica and Gentry for making this day possible. We can share this day with everyone and with the whole world. I thank our special friends for making this possible."
Jessica Lindley, is the sister of Justin and Jared Humphrey. She said, "It's really hard not to have my mom here. When she had Jared in 1976, there wasn't a lot of research or resources to help my parents. In fact, they told my mom and dad to put him in an institution. My mom said no. She did a lot for children with down syndrome in our area. My mom had two children with down syndrome, but she never treated them any different. She studied and went into special education so she could help people with down syndrome. After she died we found this story she had written called why me. She never complained. She had Jared when she was 19 and that was very hard. Then she had Justin. She had her moments, but she never complained. She ended her story with I'm glad it was me."
Lindley said that it takes special parents to have these special children. "My mom left special notes that at Justin's funeral someday, they must play Angels Among Us. My mom would have loved to be here, but she died of cancer a few years ago. She loved being a special education teacher."
Lindley said being a special education teacher has shaped her into who she is today. "I am grateful we have these special children in our lives," said Lindley.
Everyone went outside and there was a count down and balloon launch in memory of Joy Humphrey, the mother of two down syndrome children.
Each of the down syndrome children honored went home with gifts from area merchants.
The event organizers would like to thank the recreation center and Jake Atwood and Darshell Leroy. Screen Tech and Adam Jeffs for the shirts; BKs-Kent Wilson for the food; Sysco for the food; Main Street Express-Debbie; Jensen Lanes for free bowling for the children; Hometown Market, Harts, Maverik, Price Theatres, Price City Wave Pool, Gordon's Floral; Main Salon, Stewarts, Food Ranch and the Emery County Progress for their support of this event.