ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — When October rolls around for the Lawfield family, it’s not just about enjoying the fall weather. This month means more to them because of their 9-year-old daughter, Madison, who has Down Syndrome.

October is National Down Syndrome Awareness month. Madison’s family says this month is special because it gives them an extra opportunity to educate people about her condition.

Down Syndrome is a condition in which a baby is born with an extra chromosome. This extra chromosome changes how the baby’s body and brain develop, which can cause both mental and physical challenges.

“We are more alike than we are different, and just reach out, and say hello, don’t be afraid,” said Bill Lawfield, Madison’s father. “I can promise you one thing, if you think that being connected to one of these children or young adults is going to help change their lives, you’re immediately wrong. That relationship is going to change your life.”

Throughout the years, advocates have fought for equal rights for people with Down Syndrome, proving that even with an extra chromosome they can accomplish anything.

“I think it’s changing what people think our children can do and not able to do, and not limiting them to this preconceived notion that they’re not able to contribute to society,” said Bill. “We’ve come a long way in the last few decades with being able to work and get meaningful employment. Our children now can own assets on their own and not disrupt their social benefits.”

For more information about Down Syndrome Association of Roanoke’s Buddy Walk, click here.

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