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Rivershore, Family & Friends celebrate Down Syndrome Day

by jmaloni
Mon, Mar 21st 2011 02:55 pm
Pictured from left are Jeff Sanderson, Rivershore Inc. executive director; Christine Sirianni of the Family & Friends Down Syndrome Association of Niagara; musician and speaker Sujeet Desai; speaker Dr. Sindoor Desai; and speaker Scholasti Sungula.
Pictured from left are Jeff Sanderson, Rivershore Inc. executive director; Christine Sirianni of the Family & Friends Down Syndrome Association of Niagara; musician and speaker Sujeet Desai; speaker Dr. Sindoor Desai; and speaker Scholasti Sungula.
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Rivershore Inc., in partnership with The Family & Friends Down Syndrome Association of Niagara, held events Monday to promote the sixth annual World Down Syndrome Day. The keynote speaker was renowned musician Sujeet Desai. The instrumentalist, who has performed around the world and with performers including Kenny G., spoke on how individuals with Down syndrome lead happy, productive and meaningful lives.

Sujeet's mother, Dr. Sindoor Desai, also addressed a full crowd at Rivershore's Village of Lewiston offices. She shared ways in which individuals with Down syndrome can study and work and function just like everyone else in society, and how parents can advocate for their children.

Speaker Scholasti Sungula told the crowd of her experiences in Africa and how she found hope and help in America through the Family & Friends Association. She said her 4-year-old son, who recently began his studies in Niagara County, is now receiving the tools he needs to learn and grow. 

Christine Sirianni, speaking for the Family & Friends organization, presented a slide showing her daughter, Andrea, overcoming Down syndrome and volunteering in the community.

Down Syndrome Day is held each year on March 21 (3/21), because people with Down syndrome have a trisomy (three copies) of the 21st chromosome.

Sujeet has appeared on national programs including "20/20," "The View" and "Oprah." He is an ambassador for Down Syndrome International in London, and plays six instruments. For the Rivershore crowd, he performed songs on the violin and flute.

To learn more about Sujeet, visit his website.

The Family & Friends Association's signature event, the Buffalo Niagara Buddy Walk, will take place on Saturday morning, Sept. 11, as part of the Lewiston Kiwanis Peach Festival. For more information, visit http://www.dsaniagara.org/.

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