March 21st marks World Down Syndrome Day, a date that symbolizes the extra copy of chromosome 21 that leads to three copies (one from Mom, one from Dad, plus one extra), causing the genetic condition.In celebration, we list down 7 remarkable individuals wth Down Syndrome who have not only raised public awareness but have also empowered other people--with and without the syndrome. These people has broken down barriers and are living to their full potential.
1. Bryan Angelo Andres
New to television, young actor Bryan Angelo Andres has already made a mark in many Filipinos’ hearts with his role as Darwin, the younger brother of star Kim Chiu in the ABS-CBN teleserye “The Story of Us.” Bryan is the real-life younger brother of teen actress Sofia Andres who shares that her brother has always been interested in acting. “Every time na nagta-taping ako nando’n siya, nanonood siya,” she told Push. And, now her brother gets to go to tapings of his own. “Gustong-gusto niya ang ginagawa niya.”
2. Brina Kei Maxino Teenager Brina Kei Maxino made the country proud in 2014 when she was chosen to represent the Asia Pacific region at the Special Olympics Global Youth Activation Summit. She was also invited to the White House for a state dinner hosted by none other than US President Barack Obama himself and his wife Michelle. The US President even gave her a special mention in a speech given for the occasion.
3. Madeline Stuart
Photo by Sarah Houston Photography
Beauty comes in all forms as shown by Madeline Stuart, the world’s first professional model with Down Syndrome. At 19 years old, the Australian model is the face of beauty brand Glossigirl and has landed a contract for fitness brand Manifesta. On top of all that, she, like actress Jamie Brewer(see below), has also walked the runway at New York Fashion Week—twice! Her latest photoshoot, which received astounding positive feedback, is for a popular wedding venue in the U.S. where she modeled as a bride. Her 2016 plans include working in New York, Milan and Tokyo fashion weeks, launching her own clothing line, and organizing a charity fashion show.
4. Jamie Brewer
Actress Jamie Brewer has made history as the first woman with Down Syndrome to walk the runaway at New York Fashion Week. Known for her roles in the TV show "American Horror Story," the 30-year-old strutted for designer Carrie Hammer who put her in an ensemble inspired by the character she portrayed in the TV show. “Young girls and even young women… [see me] and say: ‘Hey, if she can do it so can I,’” Brewer told Today. “It’s a true inspiration being a role model for any young women to [encourage them] in being who they are and showing who they are.”
5. Angela Bachiller In 2013, Angela Bachiller became the first person with Down Syndrome in history to be elected as a councilwoman. She took up post as the city of Valladolid in Spain’s town councilor after the prior councilman’s step down and following her involvement with politics in Valladolid's May 2011 electoral campaign.
6. Pablo Pineda Aside from being a bachelor’s degree holder of educational psychology (the first student with Down Syndrome in Europe to obtain a university degree), Spanish Pablo Pineda is also a writer, speaker, Down Syndrome advocate and award-winning actor. In 2009, he recieved the Silver Shell award for best actor from the San Sebastian International Film Festival for his performance in the film "Yo Tambien."
In 2013, Megan McCormick graduated with honors from a technical college, completing a two-year program in Bluegrass Community & Technical College and making her first person with Down syndrome to graduate with honors from a technical college in the United States. After graduation, she dreams of even bigger things. “I want to be independent, I want a full-time job, and I want to drive my own car,” she told the Lexington Herald Leader. “And I want to work with children, serving as a role model for them.”