I now have my own identity

"Having Down’s syndrome has not affected the way I look at life. Many people with Down’s syndrome hold jobs, live independently and enjoy recreational opportunities in their communities, and this is me. I am a student in the fine arts programme at the University of Calgary and a Gold Award holder.

Ready for the challenge

"Before I knew about the Award I was already a very active individual taking part in a number of professional sports, including figure skating, rhythm gymnastics, skiing and bowling. It was a contact at the Canadian Disabled Ski Group Annual Dinner who introduced me to the Award. Straight away I knew it was for me.

"I enrolled on my Award and began to experience the Award programme that so many people before me had participated in. I didn’t see that having Down’s syndrome was a problem and felt that I was as capable as the next person at completing each Section. I was ecstatic when I received my Award and realised that the hard work and commitment had been worth it.

Identity

"I was chosen in 2006 as one of fifteen delegates from across Canada to be an ambassador for the ninth world Down Syndrome Congress in Vancouver. Whilst at the conference I gave a speech about my involvement with the Award. I also met with an exhibiter who was there to promote the Award programme: to see the Award stand made me proud to know that I had been part of such a great programme.

"By doing the Award I have learnt so much more than I would have ever thought possible and I now have my own identity and more self-confidence to push myself further. I would do the Award again if I could!”

Johanna, Canada