Children born with Down syndrome, also known as trisomy 21, often face an uncertain future. This common chromosomal abnormality, which affects about 5,000 babies born each year, puts children at greater risk for chronic and life-threatening conditions such as heart disease, bone deformities, neurological, gastrointestinal and endocrine disorders, as well as feeding and developmental disabilities.
At Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), patients are cared for by our Trisomy 21 Program, an innovative, multidisciplinary program that began in 2003 to provide and coordinate care for children with this complex disorder. Our program is unique, in that we care for patients with Down syndrome throughout their lives — not just during childhood. Our developmental pediatricians, therapists and researcher have made great strides expanding treatment and improving outcomes for these individuals, but more funding is needed to continue our work.
Exceptional Patient Care and Treatment
CHOP’s Trisomy 21 Program provides ongoing care, education and services to more than 2,000 individuals with Down syndrome and their families each year. Our patients come from diverse racial, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds, and come to CHOP from near and far – even other countries. Our Program would not exist as it does today without the tremendous support of the CHOP Buddy Walk® & Family Fun Day. Now in its 17th year, the CHOP Buddy Walk® has raised more than $3.4 million for Down syndrome research and services at CHOP.
Researchers and clinicians at CHOP are working every day to improve the lifelong health and well-being of individuals with Down syndrome. Our team is: developing new assessment tools to help identify medical and developmental issues earlier and intervene quicker; providing education for families, medical providers and community members about Down syndrome and its effects through annual conferences, support groups and medical meetings; and creating customized transition to adulthood programs for individuals with Down syndrome who have chronic or ongoing medical issues.
Patient Champions for the CHOP Buddy Walk® have a big job to do. It’s up to them to represent the thousands of children born with Down syndrome each year. As they share their stories, they help the world understand more about trisomy 21 and why it’s worth supporting institutions like Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
“Your support of the Trisomy 21 program helps us achieve our goal of promoting optimal health, growth and development so that individuals with Down syndrome can reach their potential and become valued members of their communities well into the future. Involving your family and friends in this endeavor through the CHOP Buddy Walk spreads awareness that children and adults with Down syndrome have the capacity to contribute to their community if learning is supported and opportunities to do so are available.”
— Mary Pipan, MD, Director of the Trisomy 21 Program