The image of a Cambria child has been featured in the bright lights of Times Square, helping New York City highlight in a big way the abilities and talents of people with Down syndrome.
More than 2,000 photos were considered for the 2015 National Down Syndrome Society video that was broadcast Sept. 18 on a jumbotron overlooking the world-famous square.
October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month. The Society promotes the value, acceptance and inclusion of people with the syndrome.
The picture of Blake Hergenroeder, a winsome 4-year-old Cambria boy, was one of 450 photos included in the video.
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Blake’s mom, Lisa Graystone, took the picture in July as her son played at the beach by the pier in William Randolph Hearst Memorial Beach in Old San Simeon Village.
“He loves the ocean,” she said, “and I thought it was really representative of where we live and our part of the country.”
Graystone, a wardrobe stylist who works with A-list celebrities, and two other mothers of Down syndrome children recently launched a nonprofit support group, Central Coast Down Syndrome Network. Graystone, a mother of four, said the group wants to represent hopes, dreams and achievements of the “substantial community” of county residents with Down syndrome.
She wrote last year about being the parent of a Down syndrome child at http://torispelling.com/2014/10/october-is-down-syndrome-awareness-month, a blog by her friend Tori Spelling.
The Sept. 18 Times Square video presentation was followed by the 21st annual Flagship Buddy Walk in NYC. Buddy Walk events will be held in more than 275 cities around the globe. For details, go to www.buddywalk.org or call (800) 221-4602. For information about the Society, go to www.ndss.org.