A filmmaker and missionary, Lauren Costabile uses her talent to advocate and serve those with Down syndrome. Traveling around the world to places like France, Nicaragua and Uganda, she quickly came to realize that although the levels of acceptance and knowledge about Down syndrome varied from country to country, most peoples and places did not fully understand or accept those with Down syndrome.
She produced the video below, featuring children with Down syndrome to highlight that we are all more alike than different:
Lauren highlights the needs of children with Down syndrome in Uganda:
When I was in Uganda this past August, I had the opportunity to visit with the Ugandan Down syndrome association. I visited the homes of countless different children. I learned that these children are not seen for who they are, they are seen as a “problem” and viewed as a burden to society. What struck me the most was that these children were not getting the most basic and necessary medical care.
According to the National Down syndrome society, “Approximately half of all infants born with Down syndrome have a heart defect. Many of these defects have serious implications, and it’s important to understand them and how they may affect the child so that they will receive appropriate medical care. Heart surgery is recommended to correct the defects and must be done before the age of 5 or 6 months in order to prevent lung damage.”
Due to lack of education, the parents are typically unaware of their child’s condition and know little about Down syndrome. Most don’t even know that there is a possibility of a heart defect. These children are not able to get the heart scan because their parents can’t afford the fees, let alone the heart surgery, putting the child at a higher risk of death. This is incredibly preventable.
Lauren is working to raise awareness about the conditions of these children, especially those in Uganda, whose parents cannot afford the lifesaving treatments and surgeries that those in countries such as the United States can.