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23 October 2019
For parents Sallie and Josh Koenig, Horsham’s 2019 Step Up for Down Syndrome walk at the weekend was an ‘overwhelming’ show of community spirit and generosity.
The Sawyer Park event, raising money for organisation Down Syndrome Victoria, was the second for the Horsham couple since the birth of their first child Oskar.
Oskar, 3, has Down Syndrome, a genetic disorder where people have 47 chromosomes in their cells instead of a usual 46.
Mrs Koenig, who helped organise this year’s event, said while there were still misconceptions about Down Syndrome, these fundraising events helped tear them down through celebrating diversity and acknowledging the skills, talents and abilities of people with the disorder.
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She said the event, part of Down Syndrome Awareness Month in October, and Wimmera community and business support meant so much to her family and others with Down Syndrome.
“We’re very proud of how it went. It certainly exceeded our expectations,” she said.
“It was overwhelming to see all the support, and you just think, this is what it is all about – the community getting behind and rallying for people with Down Syndrome.
“The more we can say that it’s normal and it’s okay, the better. Let’s celebrate these wonderful people.”
Mrs Koenig said the couple received Oskar’s Down Syndrome diagnosis when she was 12-weeks pregnant.
She said at first, the couple ‘felt that fear’ that many other families face upon hearing such news. But with the creation of a family Instagram page, Lessons From Oskar, where they share their experiences raising a child with Down Syndrome, the couple is hoping to show people that the disorder is ‘nothing to fear’.
“When we were diagnosed, one of the first things we did was look to find other people and families with children who had Down Syndrome, and Instagram was where we went,” Mrs Koenig said.
“We created our Instagram page to show that this is what it is like pretty much day-to-day.
“As I always say, we wouldn’t want Oskar any other way, because if he didn’t have Down Syndrome, he wouldn’t be the little boy we love today.”
– Lotte Reiter
The entire October 23, 2019 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!