The Issue: Physical Activity Among Individuals with Down Syndrome
People with Down syndrome frequently exhibit physical traits that prevent them from developing the motor skills of their typically developing peers—including low muscle tone, lax ligaments, and decreased strength. Thankfully, exercise and physical therapy can help, teaching the individual good posture, proper foot management, and a good physical foundation for physical fitness throughout life.
The Campaign: Providing Athletic Uniforms for Individuals with Down Syndrome
All donations to this Grassroots campaign will be used by the Global Down Syndrome Foundation to provide soccer, football, and cheerleading uniforms for individuals with Down syndrome participating in the organization’s Dare to Play events. All funds will go toward purchasing such items as soccer jerseys ($35 each), football shorts ($25 each), and cheerleading skirts ($25 each). In total, the soccer uniform costs $70, the football uniform costs $60, and the cheerleading uniform costs $145. All donations will be matched by an anonymous donor up to $100,000.
The Global Down Syndrome Foundation’s Dare to Play initiative allows soccer players with Down syndrome to participate in an athletic pursuit with support and instruction from real coaches. Not only do campers receive a full uniform, soccer ball, and training T-shirt, they also get a ticket to attend a Colorado Rapids or Columbus Crew game—where they show off their newfound soccer skills during a demonstration in front of the fans.
At football camps led by former NFL Pro Bowl–pick Ed McCaffrey, players of both sexes, ages 8 and older, partner with local high-school football players to practice teamwork and hone gridiron fundamentals. The Denver Broncos Cheerleaders Dare to Cheer Camp, meanwhile, invites males and females ages 7 to 35 to learn basic routines, practice dance moves, and participate in team-building activities. The cheerleading camp is part of the Junior Denver Broncos Cheerleaders program, whose members help out with instruction for 90 minutes each week. The program also provides participants with the opportunity to perform in front of thousands of fans during the halftime of four Denver Broncos games as well as at Colorado Rockies and Colorado Rapids games.
At the end of football and cheerleading camp comes Football Game Day, the marquee event. Football campers take the field alongside celebrities to show off their punting, passing, and kicking skills. At halftime, cheerleaders tumble onto the turf to show off their new moves—all before a crowd of more than 400 spectators.
Global Down Syndrome Foundation
The Global Down Syndrome Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to significantly improving the lives of people with Down syndrome through research, medical care, education, and advocacy. Despite being one of the most common chromosomal disorders in the country—occurring in 1 out of every 691 births—Down syndrome receives exceptionally low funding compared to other genetic conditions. The foundation helps to make up for the shortfall by hosting fundraisers and conferences, advocating for public policy that benefits those with Down syndrome, and providing programming that allows individuals living with the condition to develop their talents and abilities.
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