"Differences are beautiful. Language changes how people think."
That's the powerful message Grey's Anatomy star Caterina Scorsone is sharing to mark Down syndrome Awareness month, adding that she and her husband Rob Giles, "hit the jackpot" with their beautiful two-year-old girl Paloma.
"Parents don't have a 1 in 700 "RISK" of having a baby with Down syndrome. Parents have a 1 in 700 CHANCE of having a baby with Down syndrome," the 36-year-old writes in a post to Instagram, "just like they have a 50 percent CHANCE of having a girl and a 50 percent CHANCE of having a boy. (With some beautiful variations in there as well)."
Noting that words are important, Scorsone, who is also mum to Eliza, 5, adds the hashtags, "hit the jackpot, "the lucky few" and "nothing down about it".
October is Down syndrome awareness month. Here’s a little info. 1 in 700 babies is born with Down syndrome. Language is important. Parents don’t have a 1 in 700 “RISK” of having a baby with Down syndrome. Parents have a 1 in 700 CHANCE of having a baby with Down syndrome, just like they have a 50 percent CHANCE of having a girl and a 50 percent CHANCE of having a boy. (With some beautiful variations in there as well). Differences are beautiful. Language changes how people think. Words are important. #hitthejackpot #theluckyfew #nothingdownaboutit #love
Earlier this year, Scorsone, who plays Amelia Shepherd in the long-running medical drama Grey's Anatomy, thanked American Girl for featuring a model with Down syndrome in their catalogue. "Thanks for making this little cutie, and all the girls with a little extra, visible," she wrote.
1 in 700 babies born in America has Down Syndrome. That’s a LOT of American Girls! I want to take a second to applaud @americangirlbrand for representing diversity in America by making this little cutie, and all the girls with a little extra, visible. Please go to @americangirlbrand and let them know you appreciate it! #nothingdownaboutit💙💛
Scorsone has also lobbied for increased funding, explaining that while Down syndrome is the most common chromosomal difference, "the funding for research is almost non-existent."
"Let's look deeper and find causes and treatments just like we would for any other population," she said.
According to Down Syndrome Australia, there are about 13,000 people with Down syndrome in the country. The rate of Australian babies born with Down syndrome is approximately one in 1,000.
During October, to mark Down syndrome Awareness month, Step UP! for Down syndrome events are taking place around the country. The walk-a-thons are designed to celebrate the strength and diversity of the community and to raise much-needed funds.
"Step UP! events are an opportunity for families to connect with each other. It's wonderful to take the time to meet up with old friends, hear their news and raise funds at the same time." said Darryl Steff, CEO of Down Syndrome Queensland.
Find a walk near you or make a donation here.