I received an email from dear Olga the other day with photos that made me smile so big and well up with tears of joy, hope, love, thankfulness.
These were taken in August at the charitable organization Down Side Up's annual Charity Sport's bike ride in aid of children with Down syndrome.
The goals of the ride are to show the great potential of people with DS (many of the riders themselves had DS), to raise money for early intervention services for children with DS, and to raise awareness about Down syndrome. Awesome!!
From Olga and Downsideup.org/en
There were famous top athletes from Russia present to show their support.
There is something so beautiful and hopeful to me in this photo, seeing this take place in front of the Kremlin.
Something I love about kids with Down syndrome is how, even though they definitely look like their own biological families, they also share these unique facial characteristics that make them part of a recognizable worldwide family-the Down syndrome family. I think that's why people who love someone with DS are so automatically drawn to complete strangers they see with Down syndrome-because they feel like family. When I am out with the boys and I see another child or adult with Down syndrome and glance at their parent, as soon as we make eye contact there's this smile and understanding that passes between us, like seeing an old friend after years apart. I love it and consider it one of the many blessings of having a child with Down syndrome.
I have no doubt that one day Russia will be as inclusive and accepting and accommodating to people with not only Down syndrome, but all disabilities. These organizations are the pioneers of this movement, and it is exciting to be able to witness.
“If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. ... We need not wait to see what others do.” - Gandhi