World Down Syndrome Day 2009 is celebrated on 21st March. The date was chosen to signify the relevance of Trisomy 21. (3/21).
On March 21st, 2009, World Down Syndrome Day will also mark the 50th anniversary of the publication of Professor Jerome Lejeune's discovery of the extra copy of chromosome 21 which causes Down Syndrome.
Now known as trisomy-21 because of the third copy of the 21st chromosome, Down Syndrome was first described by the English doctor, John Langdon Down, in 1866 but until Professor Lejeune's publication in 1959, the ultimate cause of Down Syndrome was unknown.
Professor Lejeune and Dr Langdon Down are regarded as the preeminent contributors to our present understanding of Down Syndrome, not only because of their research into Down Syndrome, but also because each of them contributed much of their own time and money to advocating on behalf of persons with Down Syndrome and their families.
Down Syndrome organisations around the world this year will pay tribute to the pioneering work of Professor Lejeune and celebrate the tremendous advances in the care and social welfare of people with Down Syndrome over the past fifty years.
"Professor Lejeune provided inspiration to parents and professionals who met him, and drew strength and hope from his optimism and his simple and profound dedication to humanity. The Lejeune Institute inParis continues to sponsor research in this area” said Mrs. Penny Robertson, President of Down Syndrome International. “But while there is much to be proud of in western countries in the services provided for people and families with Down syndrome, there is still an enormous amount of work to be done in many countries".
So celebrate with us today, and learn more about Down syndrome, click here.