When Marcia was 43 years old, she learned that she was pregnant. She and her husband had been married for four years and they had a three-year-old son, Lucas.
“I learned I was pregnant with twins and then through amniocentesis, I learned I was having a boy and a girl and the girl would have Down syndrome,” she said.
She was told that she could "selectively reduce" the pregnancy by choosing to abort her daughter with Down syndrome, but she would have a 35 percent chance of losing the other twin as well.
“We made it clear, we were not interested in any of that and we moved forward with the pregnancy without any complications,” she said later.
On Nov. 11, 1994, their beautiful twins were born.
There have been challenges, including a heart surgery for the son, Gabriel, who was the twin without Down syndrome, and vascular ring and sinus surgeries for the daughter, Sara.
“Becoming a mom and then becoming a mom to twins, one with Down syndrome, has been a blessing in my life and Sara has touched so many lives,” she said.
Down syndrome occurs when an individual has an extra partial (or whole) copy of chromosome 21. It is not yet known why this syndrome occurs, but Down syndrome has always been part of the human condition.
It exists in all regions across the globe and commonly results in variable effects on learning styles, physical characteristics, and health.
Adequate access to health care, to early intervention programs, and inclusive education, as well as appropriate research, are vital to the growth and development of the individual.
The estimated incidence of Down syndrome is between 1 in 1,000 to 1 in 1,100 live births worldwide. Each year, approximately 3,000 to 5,000 children are born with this chromosome disorder.
Individuals with Down Syndrome can achieve optimal quality of life through parental care and support, medical guidance, and community-based support systems such as inclusive education at all levels.
This facilitates their participation in mainstream society and the fulfilment of their personal potential.