Sofia Sanchez was born with Down Syndrome. She spent her first 14 months languishing in a Ukrainian orphanage until fate intervened, changing the course of her life forever.

Now she’s stepping out in style and celebrating her achievements online. With the help of her mother, Jennifer, her latest Instagram video’s going viral for all the right reasons. She’s showing the world how she breaks down barriers…like a boss.

October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month. Join Sofia in celebrating the unique differences and diversity of Down Syndrome.

Check out what Sofia has to say about living with Down Syndrome in her latest viral video here:

This 7-year-old girl’s message about Down syndrome is going viralIt’s Down Syndrome Awareness Month, and this 7-year-old girl wants you to know something about Down syndrome — and people who have it: http://cbsn.ws/2dhU2Fy

Posted by CBS News on Friday, 14 October 2016

 

Down syndrome is a condition that can still mean life in an institution and a premature death. Also known as Trisomy 21, it’s caused by the presence of a full or partial copy of chromosome 21. Those with Down Syndrome may share some of up to 120 features associated with the condition, including a characteristic appearance and varying levels of intellectual disability. The odds were against Sofia ever reaching her true potential if she remained in an orphanage.

Half a world away from the Ukraine in California, Jennifer and Hector Sanchez were already proud parents to two rambunctious boys, Diego and Mateo. When their youngest son, Joaquin was born with Down Syndrome in 2009, the family were galvanised into action. They saw an opportunity to improve the lives of other children with Down Syndrome. They donated to Reece’s Rainbow Down Syndrome Adoption Grant Fund. The Fund’s annual Christmas Tree Angel Project’s seeks to raise money to help loving families adopt young children with the condition. Moreover, they also campaign for greater community acceptance of, and opportunities for, those diagnosed with Down Syndrome.

Jennifer Sanchez, already looking to adoption as a way of extending her family, chanced upon a photo of a young infant with Down Syndrome. Suddenly, she realized that, at least for Joaquin, it was possible to find a sibling for him who would understand him and could share his journey. Completely smitten, she was unable to put the image of the young orphan out of her mind. Bit by bit she managed to talk Hector around to seeing past the cons of bringing up a large family with two special-needs children. By June 2010, they’d adopted Sofia and bought her home to start her new life in the USA.

Now aged 7, Sofia’s carving out an impressive path as a model, actress and fierce advocate for young people with Down Syndrome, proving her diagnosis is no barrier to living life to the full, aiming high and challenging stereotypes along the way.

Sofia’s zest for life and can-do attitude inspires all who come into contact with her. That certainly includes her followers on Instagram and those diagnosed with the chromosomal anomaly affecting 1 in 800 births. Sofia Sanchez is showing the world that, with optimism and support there’s no reason why Down Syndrome should be regarded as an obstacle to achieving your dreams.

Thankfully, people like Sofia are taking it upon themselves to challenge the misconceptions and prejudices against Down Syndrome by proving the sky’s the limit and there’s nothing to be scared about; it’s actually exciting!

To find out more about Down Syndrome and the supports and information in Australia, go to http://www.downsyndrome.org.au

To find out more or donate to Reece’s Rainbow, click here http://www.reecesrainbow.org

Author

KIM DAVIES is a forty-something latecomer to parenthood who’s haphazardly wrangling a husband, two daughters and career as a criminal lawyer. When she’s not fighting the good fight against injustice she’s picking up dirty undies and toenail clippings from the bathroom floor and spending her ‘me time’ putting pen to paper in the dead of night.

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