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5 People With Down Syndrome Changing the World For Good
Emily Zak October 29, 2016
In the United States, 400,000 people live with Down syndrome.
But so often when we talk about the genetic condition, we talk about children, while the adults and teens living with one extra chromosome disappear.
As Down Syndrome Awareness Month comes to a close, here are a few athletes, teachers and actors living with the condition who are making their mark.
1. Elisha “Eli” Reimer
Back at age 15, Reimer did something that most of us will never do: He climbed up to base camp at Mount Everest. Before him, no one else with Down Syndrome has accomplished this feat.
His journey included treking 70 miles through freezing temperatures. The average trip takes about 20 days, and the elevation jumps from 9,250 feet to 17,500.
Reimer raised nearly $100,000 for Elisha Foundation, which runs a mountain climbing team for people with disabilities.
Garrett “G Money” Holeve has been a mixed martial arts fighter for more than five years. Now in his late 20s, his work in the ring has paved the way for other adaptive athletes.
In 2013, he was preparing for a fight with former Special Olympian David “Cerebral Assassin” Steffan, who has cerebral palsy. Then the Florida State Boxing Commission sent organizers a cease-and-desist order that stopped the competition.
After he and his family, activists and the National Down Syndrome Society called for Holeve to be allowed to pursue his passion, he had his first sanctioned fight in August 2015.
“I’m a fighter,” he’s said. “That’s what I am. The only thing I want to be is a fighter.”
3. Bryann Burgess
She brings her students at Kindermusik school a dedicated work ethic and persistent positive attitude.
As she tells WLTX, “I’ve always wanted to express myself in music. That’s what I’ve learned in Kindermusik, is just to express myself and enjoy learning.”
4. Angela Bachiller
Just three years years ago, a city in Spain elected Bachiller to councilwoman.
The Valladolid resident was the first person with Down syndrome in the country to take that role.