One evening in in March, I received an email from a dear friend, Ruby Wills, who is the Southern Coordinator of Upp Club Dunedin. She had sent me an invitation from The Med Students Association to speak at their Otago University Medical Students Conference.
My role was to speak on behalf of people with Down syndrome so it was a challenge to make a PowerPoint presentation and a speech to go with it, because I had to speak for at least 15 minutes.
First of all, I had to write a speech talking about my achievements and my experience with doctors, so it meant to choose the right photographs and to start building ap a Power Point presentation.
It took me a month to get organised. I was watching some videos on YouTube on how to talk clear and loud and make myself understood, practicing my speech in front of a mirror so I can be more comfortable so I can be ready to speak in front of the audience, putting my slides in order so the photos fitted with my speech.
And many more details, so when the big day comes I will be well prepared.
The big day comes and I was on my way to meet Ruby at the Otago Museum, because the night before we decided to meet there.
All of the Med students were already there and I got myself introduced from that day until today. I have made dear friends who I will cherish forever.
On Saturday May 25, my friend Ruby started to speak first because she wanted to tell the Med students how she got involved in the role of becoming the Co-coordinator of Upp Club and the wonderful opportunities that this club has to offer. Then she introduced me so I could have my turn to speak.
I spoke with such enthusiasm that I made them to applaud me at the end.
That night Ruby and I got invited to go to their Gala dinner at the Savoy and we had such a FANTASTIC evening. We had a delicious buffet and we danced until we dropped. There was a professional photographer who took many photographs of us. In other words, I had a wonderful experience.
The topic of my speech was about a doctor’s influence in people with Down syndrome lives.
I said that one in every eight hundred people is born with Down syndrome; and doctors have to remember some key points if they one day see a baby with Down syndrome and they could have heart conditions, thyroid dysfunctions, vision, hearing, respiratory infections and intestinal problems.
Doctors also have to understand that people with Down syndrome are not sick, that it is not a disease and we do not suffer from it.
Parents who are receiving the Chat 21 journal and have a baby with Down syndrome please remember to take care of your baby’s health so they can develop better.
Also believe in our ability because we do extraordinary things, we can be part of society, we can be part of groups like STRIVE or Upp Club.
We can learn and we have different skills, we have big dreams and want to make them come true.
We can achieve many things in life if we have the opportunities and you, doctors and parents, can help us to make that big difference.
Think about the great effect you have on the lives of people with Down syndrome
Like Michael Jackson’s song says:
Heal the world, make it a better place, for you me and the entire human race.