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Exemplifying Achievement

Mary Ann Saunders is the recipient of the 2017 George Klukas Achievement Award.

Everyday, Mary Ann Saunders faces multiple health challenges that anyone would find difficult to manage. Mary Ann has been diabetic since she the age of four, has Chron’s disease and suffers from anxiety. These health challenges may limit her ability to live independently at this time, but they do not stop her from enthusiastically organizing and participating in a very active community-based life.

For these reasons and more, Mary Ann is the winner of the 2017 George Klukas Achievement Award for improvement and success over the past year.
Mary Ann is a Special Olympian - and a highly decorated one at that, having won five medals (gold, silver and bronze) at the recent BC Special Olympic Summer Games. In addition, she performed the lead role in a musical theatre production, and volunteers at the seniors’ lunch at her local community centre. If that isn’t enough, she is also an active participant in a variety of community programs throughout the week.
Mary Ann has completed many DSRF programs through the years, including Reading and Communication Plus, Social Communication and Navigation, Money Math and Budgeting, and Summer School. Over the past year in particular, Mary Ann has made great strides in her communication abilities, self-confidence and determination.
The academic and social skills developed and honed through her hard work at DSRF have increased her confidence to go out and thrive in her community, where she serves as a shining example of all that individuals with Down syndrome can accomplish and contribute.
There are many ways to measure achievement, but Mary Ann truly has succeeded in achieving a very balanced, meaningful and inclusive life.
The George Klukas Achievement Award was established 12 years ago in honour of George Klukas, DSRF’s longest serving Board member and a steadfast supporter of individuals with Down syndrome. The award was created to acknowledge personal growth in a young adult with Down syndrome, and is open to current and former students of the Down Syndrome Research Foundation.

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