Minnesota family fights for increased acceptance of children with Down syndrome

Sunday, Mar. 21 is World Down Syndrome Day. The 21st day of the third month was selected to represent the triplication of the 21st chromosome that causes Down syndrome.

The day of global awareness has been observed by the United Nations since 2012, and it’s a special day for Katie Anderson of central Minnesota. Her son Colt is a blessing, not only to his brother Cash and his father Jake, but to the world. At 3-years-old, Colt has a following.

"He’s quite the young fella," Jake said.

In the Anderson family’s campaign for increased acceptance of children with Down syndrome. They decided their Crusaders needed to don some armor. Katie designed it, creating a shirt fundraiser raising money for three Down syndrome organizations: Jack’s Basket, Down Syndrome Association of Minnesota, and Down Syndrome Diagnosis Network.

"These shirts, we ended up selling over 300 of them and they went to 19 different states and Canada," Katie explained.

The money goes, in part, to Jack’s Basket, a local group delivering resources and medical outreach.

"The really cool thing about them also is they’re delivered by other parents that have kids with down syndrome so it’s people that really get it," Katie told FOX 9.

"Unfortunately for a lot of these families, that’s the first congratulations and kind of assistance that they’re getting," Katie continued. "So many times when they get the diagnosis it’s ‘I’m sorry, here’s kind of the laundry list of things that might happen or might go wrong.'"

The Andersons have raised nearly $10,000 over three years for the cause. Friend Jennifer Crary collaborated on the project.

"They are a message not only for what we feel about him but what we want the world to know," Jennifer said. "He’s worthy, he’s capable, he’s loved, he’s absolutely wanted and he’s extraordinary."

"Whatever I had pictured for him in my mind for his life doesn’t mean that that’s going to happen, and that’s regardless of him having 46 or 47 chromosomes," Katie finished.