Parents, activists push for change during Down Syndrome Awareness Month

Groups like HeartShare are facing financial challenges because the state budgets cut millions of dollars of funding because of COVID-19.

News 12 Staff

Oct 25, 2020, 6:36 PM

Updated 1,311 days ago

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Parents and activists are educating others and pushing for change during Down Syndrome Awareness Month.
When Betty Ann and Gerard Delano found out their daughter Ann had Down syndrome, they say they were shocked.
But soon after, the couple got in touch with HeartShare, a Brooklyn-based organization for individuals with developmental disabilities.
"We have preschool services, we have elementary school for children with autism, we have 50 group homes for both children and adults," says Linda Tempel, executive director of HeartShare.
The Delanos say that Ann, who just celebrated her 34th birthday, was enrolled in a HeartShare program in preschool and currently lives in an adult group home.
Betty Ann Delano says she's now a very happy and social young lady with a mind of her own.
According to the CDC, more than 400,000 Americans have Down syndrome, but the Delanos say there is still a lack of education in the public eye.
"People are afraid. I never understood why they were afraid. They're just people," says Gerard Delano.
That's why HeartShare and other groups are raising awareness that those who have it can still lead a normal life.
Groups like HeartShare are facing financial challenges because the state budgets cut millions of dollars of funding because of COVID-19.
"You start questioning if these programs will be able to continue if agencies lost too much money," says Tempel.
The Delanos say they remain hopeful for the future of their daughter and the thousands of others like her.


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