Vancouver, BC – In 2006, Aditi Patel and her parents began the process of immigrating to Canada from her native India – only to encounter an unexpected obstacle.
Aditi was born with Down syndrome, and like others with the condition, in 2011, Aditi was denied entry by Immigration Canada on the grounds that her Down syndrome would place an excessive burden on the Canadian healthcare system.
Four years later, after a lengthy appeal process, and with the support of Hon’ble Don Davies (MP Vancouver Kingsway), Canadian Down Syndrome Society (CDSS) and Burnaby’s Down Syndrome Research Foundation (DSRF), Aditi finally realized her dream of starting a new life in Canada.
Now, with a sense of appreciation, Aditi has decided to give back to Canada. Aditi has meticulously handcrafted a beautiful Canada 150 flag, which she hopes to present to the Canadian Parliament. Canada’s Minister of Defence Hon’ble Harjit Sajjan (MP Vancouver South) and his team are helping with the necessary arrangements for a presentation event at the Parliament Hill in Ottawa, in coming weeks. Upon acceptance by the Government of Canada, this unique artifact by Aditi Patel will become a part of the Canadian Heritage.
During her visit to Ottawa, Aditi will bring with her a message: health, safety, human dignity, fundamental rights and wellbeing are essential to everyone, no matter who you are. The world is made stronger through inclusivity and by recognizing unique strengths of each individual. It is time we move past labels.
As Canada closes the book on its first century-and-a-half and looks ahead to the future, it’s a message worth remembering.
Starting with #Canada150, Aditi has plans to do more such noble projects with altruistic goals.
Follow Aditi Patel on Twitter @aditicreates and join the conversation on hashtag #storyofaflag.
About the Down Syndrome Research Foundation:
The Down Syndrome Research Foundation, based in Burnaby and active throughout the Lower Mainland, empowers individuals with Down syndrome to reach their full potential throughout life by pioneering and providing educational programs and services, grounded in foundational research. Working with researchers, professionals and families, DSRF is a bridge between research and practice. Visit http://DSRF.org for more information.
The Down Syndrome Research Foundation is proud and excited to introduce Wayne Leslie as our new Executive Director, effective October 23. Wayne will be DSRF’s third E.D., following in the footsteps of Dawn McKenna and DSRF founder Josephine Mills.
Wayne comes to DSRF from BC Adaptive Snowsports where, as CEO, he led the development of a transformative new strategic plan focused on re-branding, fund development diversification, advocacy and increasing services for participants and volunteers. He also oversaw implementation of extensive fund development strategies to more than double the organization’s fundraising revenues.
"It is a privilege to join DSRF and especially at a time of such meaningful change and renewed promise,” says Wayne. “It is clear that among the organization’s many strengths are a very dedicated and talented team. I am confident we'll do amazing things together and with the knowledge that what we do now will benefit individuals and families for a lifetime."
If you’re in the Lower Mainland, watch for details on a “Meet the New E.D.” event in the next few months and plan to join us. Please join us in welcoming Wayne to the DSRF family.
The Down Syndrome Research Foundation, based in Burnaby and active throughout the Lower Mainland, empowers individuals with Down syndrome to reach their full potential throughout life by pioneering and providing educational programs and services, grounded in foundational research. Working with researchers, professionals and families, DSRF is a bridge between research and practice. DSRF offers programs for individuals with Down syndrome from birth through early adulthood.