World Down Syndrome Day: One local family's story about their son


UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - March 21st marks the 8th anniversary of World Down Syndrome Day.

It's a day of global awareness that's been observed since 2006, but it was just recognized by the United Nations last year.

Every year, the voice for people with Down syndrome grows louder, and Thursday, we heard the voices of members of a local family with a child with Down syndrome.

Mark Radel's family wants the same thing that any family wants for their children, for their son to fit in.

Patrick Radel, Mark's father, says he's happy that expectations are rising for children with Down syndrome.

"It certainly poses extra challenges," he said. "Mark has special needs. He needs a little extra support, but fundamentally our dreams are the same for Mark as they are for our other two sons. We want him to make the most of his god given abilities.We want him to be included."

Inclusion is something most parents of children with Down syndrome want, and it's something they're starting to get a little more of thanks to the awareness.

"We have a ways to go, but we believe at the root of that, is holding them to the same standards, giving them support when they need it but pushing them like you would any child to have them maximize their potential," Radel said.

He adds, "At the end of the day you love him as much as you would any other child."

World Down Syndrome Day is an international event. It's on 3/21 each year because Down syndrome is three copies of the 21st chromosome. We're bringing attention to the unique abilities and qualities they possess.

Mark's brother Luke says he and his brother have the normal disagreements any brothers might have, but he goes the extra mile for his brother.

"Sometimes he needs extra help on words with a story," Luke said. 'If my mom or dad isn't helping him out then i usually help him out."

Luke adds that, like his parents, he too wants his brother to be included.

"They should definitely be included in everything that we do because they can learn better that way," Luke said.

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