MIDLAND, Texas- Today the National Down Syndrome Society held their 2021 Buddy Walk virtually and had a slideshow in New York City spotlighting people from all over the country with down syndrome.
Out of 2,100 submissions, 500 people with down syndrome were chosen to be featured in Times Square including two people from Midland: Twelve-year-old Norah Boswell and Daniel Kirwan.
Daniel died in 2014 at 46 years old due to kidney failure.
“It’s not just the picture up at Times Square it’s what’s behind those beautiful faces and how much they should be valued and today they were,” said Daniel’s sister Kathleen Kirwan-Haynie.
Kathleen and Norah’s mother, Leslie Boswell, may have not met otherwise if it weren’t for this common experience they share.
The two women say they’ve been bonded since both having a relative with down syndrome.
Today’s slideshow gave the country an opportunity to learn more about this disability by seeing these people honored in Times Square.
“They do fun stuff such as dance and swim and play with their friends,” said Leslie. “It’s great that they have a spotlight on them to show those skills and talents.”
The Buddy Walk was founded years ago to celebrate down syndrome awareness.
This year’s buddy walk though, Kathleen says, is all the more special after the recent passage of Texas House Bill 119— also known as Daniel’s Law.
Her brother had been denied testing to be put on a donor list for a kidney because he had down syndrome.
Daniel’s law now bans organ transplant discrimination based solely on a person’s disability and could even help many of the people in today’s slideshow.
“It made it even more special today seeing someone like Norah up on the screen and all the other people up there that you know now they have a chance at life,” said Kathleen.
“I think Daniel’s legacy will live on forever through Daniel’s Law.”
The law took effect on September 1st, prolonging Daniel’s memory and impact.