Skip to main content

October Is National Down Syndrome Awareness Month

The leading mission for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and, by extension, Extra Life, is to make sure every kid is healthy and happy. With over 4.3 million children going without health insurance coverage in the US and 37 million more not having full coverage under Medicaid, we need to step up to be the change in kids’ lives. When we change kids’ health, we unlock a world of possibilities for their future. This especially rings true for children with Down syndrome who benefit greatly from early care and support.

Families with sick or traumatized children undergo a lot of emotional stress. Giving those around the kids the tools they need to provide a stable environment for their offspring is essential for ensuring their ongoing health. It’s estimated that about 50% of people walking into a children’s hospital didn’t expect to be there that day. That’s why Extra Life helps to provide them with what they need while they look after and worry about their child’s health.

Children’s health goes beyond just physical maladies and emotional scarring. Children have a diverse set of needs and children’s hospitals need to have every tool in order to meet those needs. For this reason, donations help ensure that children’s hospitals have everything they need, from service animals and live music to playrooms and therapy.

One of the kids who has benefitted from this commitment to the care of both kids and their families is Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Champion Aubrey Armstrong. Aubrey was born with Down syndrome, a condition that potentially brings with it a wide range of complications throughout someone’s life. Thanks to an early diagnosis and the excellent care at Batson Children’s Hospital, Aubrey has been able to live her life to the fullest. She holds titles the 2017 Mississippi Miss Amazing Preteen, has served as the Mississippi Kid Captain for Ole Miss’, and even became Oxford’s Mayor for a day. 

At 15, Aubrey still receives support from Batson Children’s Hospital. She attends physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy as well as regularly meeting with several specialists to make sure she grows into a wonderful young woman. Despite all of these commitments, she never fails to have a positive outlook and always tries to help others. For the past several years, Aubrey has raised donations for Children’s Miracle Network through her own lemonade stand.

Kids with Down syndrome often tend to be overlooked in society. However, that’s not the case for the hospitals Extra Life supports. Here are just a handful of hospitals with dedicated Down syndrome programs designed to help kids like Aubrey.

Boston Children’s Hospital

Since 1967, Boston Children’s Hospital has been working to provide the best in specialized services for both children with Down syndrome and their families. They even provide prenatal diagnosis counseling for families who discover they are having a child with Down syndrome. This helps to educate families on what to expect and how to best care for their impending kiddo.

Children’s Omaha

At Children’s Omaha, their Down syndrome department states its goal as, “our mission is to increase the quality of life for children with Down syndrome — and their families — by offering individualized comprehensive medical and professional services.” The hospital works with patients and their families to streamline the comprehensive appointments Down syndrome can require while providing support as early in the child’s development as possible. The earlier specialists can begin working with kids, the better their chances are to live happy and healthy lives.

Monroe Carrell

The staff at Monroe Carrell’s Down Syndrome Clinic work alongside both families and patients to make sure that the entire environment kids with Down syndrome grow up in is appropriately supportive and healthy. This means a wide variety of specialists are called upon to help families learn how to most effectively alter their behavior to best raise a happy, well-adjusted kiddo with Down syndrome.

Lurie Children’s

The goal of Lurie Children’s Down Syndrome Clinic is to create, “a world where all individuals with Down syndrome are fully included and integrated into society and seen as valued members of our communities.” They base their care and priorities on what the existing body of scientific evidence indicates would provide patients with Down syndrome the best quality of life that allows them to succeed within their family, their schools, and their communities.

Keep in mind during this Down Syndrome Awareness Month that supporting Extra Life and Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals provides these hospitals with the funds they need to ensure treatment for children with Down syndrome. Donations help hospitals to expand, buy much-needed equipment, and cover the medical costs of patients who can’t afford to take their kids to their local clinics.

Don’t forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!