Locals help others see the condition in a more positive light

On Thursday, Mayor Luge Hardman signed a proclamation recognizing October as Down Syndrome Awareness Month in Waynesville.

"The City of Waynesville is honored to be proclaiming Down Syndrome Awareness month," Hardman said. "We are honored to recognize these wonderful people in our community."

Hardman said that she admires those with the condition for many reasons, including their very high spirits despite the struggles they face and that it's important for the city to honor them.

"As mayor, I am continuously amazed of the kids who I meet who have from this disorder, but don't let it stop them in any way," Hardman said.

Down syndrome is a condition in which a baby is born with an extra chromosome. It was named after Dr. John Langdon Down, who recognized the disorder in 1887. According to the Center for Disease Control, roughly one of every 691 babies born in the United States each year is born with Down syndrome. Down Syndrome Awareness Month was started in the 1980s.

Connie Trower of Waynesville said she remembers when her 9-year-old daughter, Isabel, was diagnosed with Down syndrome and she thinks it's very important for people, especially other parents, to see Down syndrome in a positive light.

"At the beginning when you find out you have a child with Down syndrome, you think about all the things they can't do," said Connie Trower. "I think it's a positive example to see kids with Down syndrome involved in all kinds of different things, showing what they can do. "

And Isabel Trower does plenty to ensure others that her, and others with the disorder, can do just about anything. She is involved in cheerleading and baton twirling. She takes piano lessons and even volunteers for the Down Syndrome Association of Greater St. Louis.

In fact, on Sept. 29, Isabel Trower was honored at Busch Stadium at the Walk in the Park event for her volunteer work and the amount of money she raised for the organization. For weeks she was told she would be able to stand next to St. Louis Cardinals left fielder Matt Holliday and had weeks of excitement built up.

"Isabel had it in her mind she was going to stand next to Matt Holliday," Connie Trower said. "We were so worried because because Matt Holliday got injured in the game on Friday."

But the night went even better than planned. Holliday stood proudly next to Isabel, gave her a signed baseball, and one of Isabel's best friends was able to stand next to her on the field.

"Having Isabel involved with things like this is so important just to show people what kids with disabilities are capable of," Connie said.