San Antonio kids are
part of a video that's designed to show the world what people
with Down syndrome can do
by Karen Adler, San Antonio Express-News, September 28,
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When 8-year-olds Anthony Carnes and Gabriel Hey get home from
school, they scarf down a snack, run outside to play baseball
and then beg their moms to let them put in a video.
They both have Down syndrome, but they're still typical
8-year-olds, their moms say.
Gabriel, a student at Coker Elementary, is a happy, easygoing
kid who loves sports and is learning how to swim and read,
said his mom, Maria Hey.
Anthony, a new student at School of Excellence, talks a mile a
minute and loves to sing and dance to children's videos.
"Gabriel and Anthony have done some really cool, neat things,"
said Betty Carnes, Anthony's mom and one of the founders of
the Down Syndrome Support Group of San Antonio.
Their latest achievement, however, has their faces being put
up among the big-city lights. A photo of the two friends
hugging each other will be broadcast on Panasonic's enormous
television screen Sunday in New York City's Times Square.
The photo, taken in February at the San Antonio Stock Show &
Rodeo's Exceptional Rodeo, was one of about 200 selected to
appear in a 40-minute video produced by the National Down
Syndrome Society. More than 1,000 photos were submitted, said
Jennifer Schell Podoll, society spokeswoman.
The goal of the video is to show through the photos that
people with Down syndrome have jobs, go to school and are
active in their community, she said. Other San Antonians whose
photographs will appear in the video are Rodney Esparza, 23;
Michael Moreno, 12; and Briana Troy, 5.
The debut of the video will kick off Down Syndrome Awareness
"I think it's important for people to know that kids with Down
syndrome participate in the community," Hey said. "Having the
video gets the word out they are capable and able people. They
can function in society. They can have jobs. They can and do
have a place in the real world."
Both she and Carnes admit they had no idea what someone with
Down syndrome looked like before their sons were diagnosed
with the genetic disorder.
"Before I had Anthony, I never saw anyone with Down syndrome,"
Carnes said. "I think it's so cool there's going to be all
those faces publicized, just out there."
The Carnes and Hey families won't be able to be in the Big
Apple to see the video, but Carnes has dispatched several New
York relatives to Times Square on Sunday. They plan to
purchase a copy of the video.
This is the eighth year the video has been shown in
conjunction with the National Down Syndrome Society Buddy
Walk, a fund-raiser to promote understanding and acceptance of
people with Down syndrome.
It must be working, Podoll said. Only 17 communities and a few
thousand people participated in the first Buddy Walk in 1995,
but this year, almost 200,000 people in 150 cities across the
nation have registered, she said.
In San Antonio, the Down Syndrome Support Group will hold its
Buddy Walk at 2 p.m. Oct. 6 at the Blossom Athletic Center,
12002 Jones Maltsberger Road. Activities include a 1-mile
walk, face-painting and musical entertainment. Individual
registration costs $15 and includes a T-shirt. Registration
begins at 1 p.m.
For more information about the San Antonio Buddy Walk, visit
the Web site www.dssgsa.com or call Terri Blades at (210)