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Sudbury Catholic Student Helping Others to “See the Ability”

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Holly and her mom, Lisa Wright show off the campaign ads for the Canadian Down Syndrome Society.

November 2, 2011 - It all started with a photo submission for a calendar. Little did Lisa Wright know that this one simple act would have her daughter Holly’s smiling face on 700 billboards across the country. Holly is a twelve year old girl who attends Pius XII Catholic Secondary School, and who happens to have Down syndrome.
Each year, Lisa liked to submit a photo of Holly to the Canadian Down Syndrome Society for their yearly calendar publication. A photo taken by her brother-in-law the previous summer depicted Holly kayaking at their camp on Fairbank Lake. Holly had just learned to kayak and the photo was captured on her very first attempt. Lisa describes Holly as very much like girls her age – loves music, movies, all of today’s “pop stars” and young actors. Holly also enjoys numerous activities – especially the ones that have to do with water. After seeing Holly’s love of the water in the kayak, captured in the picture, Lisa knew that this was the one she wanted to submit. “Shocked” is the word Lisa used when she received the phone call from the Down Syndrome Association saying not only was she selected, Holly was going to be the poster girl for their national campaign – involving a full page ad in the Globe and Mail, as well a the hundreds of billboards across Canada. “We are so proud of Holly and also quite excited – she is quite the gal,” Wright said. “She is certainly more alike children her age than she is different, and that is the message we need to get out to the public. People are encouraged to ‘see the ability’”. When asked about how she felt about all of the attention and seeing herself in the ads, Holly smiled and said that it makes her happy and makes her smile more.

Lisa takes part in the Canadian Down Syndrome Buddy Walk each year, and, as it is Down syndrome Awareness week November 1-7, the Buddy Walk will be taking place on Sunday, November 6, beginning at 11:00 at Lockerby Composite School. The walk is to raise awareness of the capabilities of people with Down Syndrome. All are encouraged to attend!

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