CHICAGO, April 19, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- New Jersey Governor First Spouse Mary Pat Christie was joined by several other First Spouses from across the country in sponsoring the "Light the Way" event on March 21, 2011 to increase awareness of, and encourage support for, the rapidly advancing area of Down syndrome cognitive research. In addition to New Jersey, participants included the first Spouses of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Guam, Kansas, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Puerto Rico, Texas, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
Mrs. Christie announced the event February 28, 2011 at the First Spouse Breakfast in Washington, D.C. The program was officially launched on World Down Syndrome Day, March 21, 2011, to bring attention to Down syndrome cognitive research, which holds great promise for improving memory, learning and communication for individuals of all ages with Down syndrome.
On the evening of that day, participating First Spouses lit their respective governor residences in the color blue, or recognized the event in a variety of other ways in order to bring greater attention to Down syndrome cognitive research. The goals of the Light the Way program are to expand awareness of Down syndrome cognitive research, including the efforts of Research Down Syndrome Foundation (RDS) to fund this research at leading institutions including Johns Hopkins University, Stanford University, The University of Arizona, University of California-San Diego, and University of Colorado.
Dr. Robert C. Schoen, President of Research Down Syndrome notes: "We are grateful for the support of First Spouses across the country. Their support adds to a noticeable increase in interest and activity being demonstrated across the country concerning the promise of Down syndrome cognitive research. For example, RDS is supporting the efforts underway in the development of a contact registry that will allow researchers conducting clinical trials to identify members of the Down syndrome community who wish to participate in these studies. The Light the Way campaign is adding to these efforts, motivating increased support for RDS' efforts to educate and increase awareness and funding for Down syndrome cognitive research – encouraging not only the Down syndrome community, but also the general public to support RDS' work to empower individuals with intellectual disabilities to reach their fuller potential and lead more independent lives."
The Light the Way event is one of several Down syndrome cognitive research awareness initiatives launched by RDS during March 2011, including the RDS "Believe" direct mail campaign which features art created by a 50-year-old woman with Down syndrome.
About Research Down Syndrome
Research Down Syndrome is a non-profit foundation that supports and funds Down syndrome cognitive research conducted at leading institutions that are studying the basis of the intellectual impairments associated with Down syndrome, including Johns Hopkins University, Stanford University, The University of Arizona, University of California, San Diego, and University of Colorado. Recent scientific advances have revolutionized this field of research, providing for the near term development of targeted medical therapies to treat the cognitive challenges associated with Down syndrome, improving memory, learning and communication, expanding and enhancing life opportunities, for people of all ages with Down syndrome. Research Down Syndrome is a legal corporate entity, and is a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization designated by the Internal Revenue Code. For more information, please visit www.researchds.org, or contact RDS at [email protected], or 877.863.2121.
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Robert Schoen, PhD
SOURCE Research Down Syndrome