Young girl with down syndrome will represent West Virginia at New York City event

Local News

HURRICANE, W.Va. (WOWK) – The National Down Syndrome Society will be holding its annual event in New York City this Saturday, to honor and celebrate individuals with Down Syndrome in our communities.

At the event, one special young lady from Putnam County will be representing West Virginia and showing millions of people that individuals with Down Syndrome can live meaningful lives.

On Thursday afternoon 15-year-old Sophie Slack accompanied her family to the local YMCA to watch her brothers take swimming lessons, but her dad said she would rather be doing something else.

“Sophie loves to garden. She is out in her garden every day. She loves to plant vegetables and flowers,” said Steven Slack.

Her family said she also enjoys playing the piano, taking art lessons and building model rockets. “She is an amazing person, and I am just blessed to know her,” said Mindy Huffman, Sophie’s swim instructor.

This summer when Sophie was out and about in Ritter Park, being a regular teenager, her father took a picture of her and submitted to the NDSS for their 25th Annual Buddy Walk in New York City.

“There were over 3,000 submissions and Sophie was picked this year. . . Sophie is going to be the only representative from the state of West Virginia,” said Steven Slack.

For about six seconds on Saturday morning, Sophie’s picture will be on the jumbotron in Times Square with about 500 people with Down Syndrome, showcasing their contributions and inclusion into society.

“We were ecstatic, we were over the moon,” said Steven Slack.

He and his family will be in New York for the special event, hoping to educate people that individuals with down syndrome can live meaningful lives.

The NDSS says about 6,000 babies are born every year with the disorder, but individuals with Down Syndrome are capable of attending school, work, and having meaningful relationships.

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