NI teen with Down Syndrome stepping up to raise awareness and help children fighting cancer

Meet Co Derry’s teen who proves that people with Down syndrome can do whatever they want.

Tiffany, 17, from Portstewart had a rough start in life after being born prematurely and battling cancer when she was just a baby, but she has used her story to make a difference for others.

After discovering a passion for walking and even running during the lockdown, something her mother Ami thought she would never see, the tenacious teen has challenged herself to raise money.

Speaking to Belfast Live, Ami said: “Tiffany knows she has Down syndrome and we’ve been talking to her about it for a long time and we’ve always taught her it’s nothing to be ashamed of.

“She was studying for her GCSE in science where they had talked about the cause of Down syndrome and the genetics behind it, so she understands that too and she asked what we can do to raise awareness.”

Tiffany broke the goal of her first step challenge

In October, Down syndrome awareness month, Tiffany set herself a “3 times 21,000 steps” challenge because she was taught at school that she had three copies of chromosome 21 and thought it was an appropriate way to raise awareness. increase.

She aimed to walk or run a total of 63 thousand steps in October and set a fundraising target of £3,210.

Ami added: “She loves it – when kids set a goal for themselves, they really want to achieve it and are very hard on themselves to get it done.

“She goes to school but also does so many activities after school and the only day off is a Monday after school and Saturday and Sunday, but she’s very strict about it and will say ‘ok mom let’s do it’.”

On October 23, Tiffany surpassed her own expectations as she reached her goal and then some, but the determined teen wasn’t ready to give up and is still counting her steps in November to continue the conversation about Down syndrome and raise essential funds. to raise money for two charities close to her heart.

The money raised by Tiffany’s challenge will be split equally between the Cancer Fund for Children and the Causeway Down Syndrome Support Group.

“The Causeway Down Syndrome Support Group is run entirely by volunteers and provides support to babies, children and adults with Down syndrome in the wider Causeway area. It offers infant and child therapy sessions that are not covered by the health service, but are essential for the child’s development.

“There are so many organizations and charities that help people with cancer, but one that really stuck in her head was the Children’s Cancer Fund,” explains Ami.

Tiffany with the Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Richard Holmes and a representative from each of her chosen charities

Speaking of Tiffany’s brilliant efforts, Causeway Coast Mayor and Glens Richard Holmes said: “I would like to thank Tiffany for freeing up her busy fundraising schedule to meet me in Cloonavin to tell me a little more about what she is doing to raise money for this two fantastic goals.

“Tiffany has been through a lot in her life, but she won’t let anything stop her. I hope everyone can stand behind her efforts and show their support by making a donation to her page.”

Ami continued: “For me, for me it’s getting people to read about what she does and become more aware that children with Down syndrome can also do things that make society so important.

“That they can have the strong will to do something that’s good for themselves – if someone had told me before the lockdown that Tiffany was going to run, I definitely wouldn’t have said it.

“She knows what she’s doing this for and is so happy to do it — I don’t even have to remind her and she loves counting the steps.”

If you’d like to donate to Tiffany’s fundraiser, look here.

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