A Declaration of Independence

MP900398761Happy Independence Day!

By Alan Gard

This year I took the time to re-read the Declaration of Independence.  And as I was reading it, there were a few things that resonated with me as I prepare for my Hundred Hole Hike to raise money for LuMind Research Down Syndrome.

While Alijah is not oppressed by a tyrant king from across the Atlantic, there are several offenses on which we need a revolution to improve the lives of people with Down syndrome.

  • “For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent”: Financial planning for Alijah will be an ongoing concern. For many of the services that he will depend on, a minimal level of assets in Alijah’s name will disqualify him. Thankfully, with the passage of the ABLE Act, the revolution on this has begun. We still need the States to take action, and in today’s political climate, action of any sort is no gimme. Because of tax and other laws, I have to treat Alijah differently than I do my other two children, and from that world we need a Declaration of Independence.
  • “He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly…”: More accurately, there have not ever been Representative Houses for people with disabilities to dissolve. But therein lies the problem. People with disabilities have no true representation. They constantly rely on others to advocate for them. While there organizations that take on this task, they need more funding to be truly meaningful.
  • “For cutting of our Trade with all parts of the world”: The taxes and income aspect is covered above. But the world today sees the disability, not the ability…not the strengths. A focus on the strengths of these individuals would be a boon to our economy and would enable people with disabilities to be Independent and fulfill their potential.

As I think about the Chariot I want to be for Alijah, the aspect that is of greatest importance to me is for Alijah to be able to Declare his Independence…and maintain his Independence. And that is why cognition research is so important.  In the first place, it will offer the greatest likelihood of Alijah writing his own Declaration of Independence. But a very big risk is of him losing his Independence to early-onset dementia. The benefits of cognition research could be critical in Alijah maintaining his Independence.

That outcome is one that is very exciting for me this 4th of July. Your support of my Hundred Hole Hike is your opportunity to emulate John Hancock and make your signature big enough for all to read that you will add yourself to the List that will help Alijah and others like him overcome their disability to become Independent and stay Independent value-adders to our society.

Please consider supporting an Independence Day for Alijah and others with cognitive disabilities.  Thank you for your consideration!

– Support Independence for people with Down syndrome by sponsoring Alan in the Hundred Hole Hike – or join the revolution to support cognition research by starting your own team challenge!