Alderson Awards 2021 and World Down Syndrome Day
Thank you, Madam Speaker.
Elizabeth Lee and I had the privilege last Friday evening to attend the Alderson Awards held at the Canberra Southern Cross Club in Woden, hosted by the ACT Down Syndrome Association. What a fantastic event that so many looked forward to attending, especially after the delays that COVID-19 brought last year! As a result, awards for the 2020 and 2021 years were both presented; recognising, showcasing and celebrating personal achievements, as well as community contributions of Canberrans with Down syndrome.
There were nominees and winners of all ages, and I was humbled by the vision, optimism and dedication of all of the award participants. The evening was met with good food, entertainment, a silent auction and games – with the enthusiastic support of local businesses and other community members.
The evening was also an opportunity to celebrate World Down Syndrome Day, which was observed on the 21st of March. It is estimated that there are 13,000 –15,000 people with Down syndrome who live in Australia, and hundreds of them are beloved Canberrans. I was grateful for the opportunity to meet so many individuals and families; and to listen to their stories of courage, faith and love. People with Down syndrome want to, and absolutely can live fulfilling lives. And the lives of others are enriched by them, as loving family members, as well as valued and respected members of the community.
I wish to thank the ACT Down Syndrome Association for all their patience and hard work in organising this special occasion, and also for all the good work that they do to provide enduring support and information to people with Down syndrome, their families, carers and the wider community.
I also want to extend my thanks to each of the sponsoring businesses who supported the event, the volunteers, as well as all the families and individuals who contributed in any way, including by attending. I feel blessed to be amongst such inspiring and devoted members of our community. I would like to take this opportunity to express my love and gratitude to all our Canberrans with Down syndrome, both young and old, and also their families – thank you for all that you do.