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17 People Around The World Thriving with Down syndrome

By January 25, 2024February 1st, 2024No Comments5 min read

17 People Around The World Thriving with Down syndrome


In a world often fixated on perceived limitations, a remarkable community of individuals defy stereotypes and redefine what it means to thrive. These are the unsung heroes not just living with Down syndrome but flourishing in ways that inspire and challenge preconceived notions.


Down syndrome, a genetic condition caused by the presence of an extra chromosome 21, brings with it unique challenges. However, what shines through is the indomitable spirit of those who navigate life with this condition.


From breaking barriers in education and employment to making waves in the arts and sports, these individuals demonstrate that limitations do not define life with Down syndrome, but rather by the limitless possibilities that can be achieved through determination, support, and a belief in one’s capabilities.


1. Deondra Dixon


The late Deondra Dixon was the sister to the famous Actor Jamie Foxx. She passed away at the age of 36 in 2020.


Before this, she was a Special Olympics athlete and an ambassador for the Global Down Syndrome Foundation. She was also the first recipient of the foundation’s Quincy Jones Exceptional Advocacy Award.


Jamie described her as a light to everybody.


2. Madeline Stuart (Australia)


Madeline is a successful Australian model with Down syndrome. She is a powerful advocate for diversity and inclusion in the world of modeling.


She has not only been dubbed a supermodel but also the most famous model living with Down Syndrome.


3.  Chris Burke (United States)


 An actor and musician, Chris is best known for his role in the TV series “Life Goes On” and has also pursued a music career.


He has also been the Goodwill Ambassador for the National Down Syndrome Society.


4. Karen Gaffney (United States)


Karen is the president of the Karen Gaffney Foundation, a non-profit organization headquartered in Portland, Oregon. It is dedicated to championing the journey to full inclusion for people with Down Syndrome and other disabilities.


She is also a long-distance swimmer and advocate who has crossed the English Channel and is a prominent speaker on Down syndrome.


5. Lauren Potter (United States)


Lauren Potter was born in 1990. She was diagnosed with Down Syndrome at birth. She could not walk until she was 2. She began attending dancing and acting classes at a young age. She landed her first acting role at the age of 2016


She is known for her role as Becky Jackson on the TV show “Glee,” Lauren is also an advocate for people with intellectual disabilities.


6. Jamie Brewer (United States)


She is an Actress and a Model.

She is known for her roles in the TV series “American Horror Story,” Jamie is also an advocate for people with disabilities.

She was the first woman with Down Syndrome to walk on the Red Carpet at the New York Fashion week.


7. Pablo Pineda (Spain)


Pablo is the first person in Europe with Down syndrome to graduate from university. He is a 42-year-old teacher.


He is also an actor and motivational speaker.


8. Sujeet Desai (United States)


 Sujeet is a talented musician who plays 7 instruments. He has performed with various orchestras.


Sujeet travels worldwide to do inspirational solo music performances and self-advocacy workshops. After graduation, he worked as a teacher’s aide for a music department in an elementary school. He taught music & basic computer skills to adults in Day Hab. programs in Buffalo.


9. John Lee Cronin (United States)


John Cronin is the Co-founder of John’s Crazy Socks, an online sock store that sells socks. Crazy Sock´s mission is to spread happiness


John has become a successful entrepreneur and an advocate for people with disabilities.


10. Sarah Gordy (United Kingdom)


She is an actress living with Down syndrome. Sarah has appeared in TV shows like “Call the Midwife” and “Upstairs Downstairs.”


She was the first person living with Down Syndrome to receive an honorary degree from a UK university.

She is a fierce campaign and is recognized for her role in challenging attitudes toward people living with learning disabilities


11. Tim Harris (United States)


Tim is a restaurant owner and entrepreneur who owns Tim’s Place, known for its friendly atmosphere and Tim’s personal touch.


12. Megan McCormick (United States)


Megan is 33 and the youngest of six siblings. 

She is a Special Olympics athlete and advocate who has won numerous gold medals in swimming.


13. Collette Divitto (United States


 Collette founded Collettey’s Cookies, a successful cookie business she started to provide employment opportunities for people with disabilities.


14. Lucas Warren (United States)


 Lucas made history as the first Gerber baby with Down syndrome, bringing awareness to inclusion and diversity.


At 18 months, he was selected as the spokesbaby of the baby food brand Gerber.


Gerber said that his selection amongst the 140,000 entries would help in the social acceptance of people with disabilities.


15. Tommy Jessop (United Kingdom)


A British actor born in 1985. He was the first actor living with Diwn Syndrome to star in a Primetime BBC drama.


 He has appeared in TV shows like “Line of Duty” and “Casualty,” breaking barriers for actors with Down syndrome.


16. AnnaRose Rubright (United States)


An advocate for inclusion, AnnaRose is a public speaker who promotes awareness and understanding of Down syndrome.


She graduated with Bachelors in radio, television and film.


17. Mikayla Holmgren (United States)


Mikayla made history as the first woman with Down syndrome to compete in a Miss USA state pageant. She is also a dancer and advocate for inclusion.


In conclusion, the inspiring stories of these 17 individuals from around the world thriving with Down syndrome serve as powerful reminders of the resilience, determination, and unique abilities that define each person. 


Through their accomplishments, they break down stereotypes and challenge societal norms, proving that a diagnosis should never limit one’s potential or define their worth. These remarkable individuals teach us valuable lessons about inclusivity, acceptance, and the limitless possibilities that exist when we celebrate diversity.


As we celebrate their achievements, let us continue to foster a world where everyone, regardless of their abilities or differences, can thrive and contribute to the rich tapestry of human experience.


Lastly, may these stories serve as a beacon of hope and inspiration, encouraging us to embrace the inherent dignity and potential within every individual, and fostering a more compassionate and inclusive global community.

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