Happy Memorial Day: Commemorating those who gave their lives so that all Americans could have the opportunity to #BeImpactful

Thanks to the efforts of many individuals, organizations, and awareness campaigns, the future looks bright for individuals with special needs.

So much has changed, even within the past decade, in terms of society’s acceptance of individuals with disabilities and understanding of the reality that individuals with special needs can positively impact others—including their families, schools, communities, and businesses.

I am optimistic as I look ahead. I see abundant opportunities for my sister, Sarah, who has Down syndrome, and others with disabilities. Together, we are re-educating society about the abilities of individuals with special needs through many different channels.

Some disability awareness groups are really beginning to think outside the box and discover unique ways to share their message of hope!

This weekend, while families across the country celebrate Memorial Day, commemorating our nation’s fallen heroes, in Indianapolis, we’ll also be celebrating our country’s freedom with the 101st running of the greatest spectacle in racing—the Indianapolis 500.

Even at events like this—seemingly unrelated to disability awareness—you can find empowerment opportunities that you wouldn’t have seen 10 years ago.

In 2015, Gigi’s Playhouse, a worldwide network of Down syndrome achievement centers, had their logo featured on Carlos Huertos’ #18 car, a driver for the Dale Coyne Racing team. Last year, the same logo was featured on Gabby Chaves’ #19 racecar.

Gigi’s Playhouse changes lives through free, results-driven programs for individuals of all ages with Down syndrome. The organization’s larger vision is global acceptance for people of all abilities.

It’s exciting to see groups, like Gigi’s, find creative ways to promote their positive message, like placing their logo on an Indy car that races in an event viewed by over six million people every year!

As you and your family celebrate Memorial Day this weekend, honoring the men and women who gave their lives to promote freedom and opportunity in America, don’t forget that it’s up to us to continue promoting awareness and opportunities for all Americans, including our loved ones with special needs.

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