August 22, 2012 - First Lady Mary Pat Christie Announces Ten Recipients of New Jersey Heroes

For Immediate Release: Contact: Michael Drewniak
Kevin Roberts
Date: Wednesday August 22, 2012 609-777-2600 Bookmark and Share
photoAlt Trenton, NJ - First Lady Mary Pat announced today that Drumthwacket, the Governor’s official residence in Princeton, will be illuminated in the color blue the evening of March 21 to raise awareness of the rapidly advancing area of Down syndrome cognitive research.  Last year, Mrs. Christie was joined by First Spouses from seventeen states, including Washington, Nevada, Puerto Rico, Massachusetts, Nebraska, Missouri, New Hampshire, Alabama, Ohio, Mississippi, Wisconsin, Georgia, Maine, Arkansas, Utah, North Dakota and Texas, in symbolizing their support of the issue. This year’s First Spouse Light the Way event will be observed on World Down Syndrome Day, March 21, 2012.

"Initiatives like Light the Way are so inspiring because of the ability to empower individuals with intellectual disabilities in New Jersey and across our nation to gain the skills they need to live more independent and fulfilling lives” said Mrs. Christie. “Last year’s campaign was very successful and I was delighted that other First Spouses participated in the effort to bring more attention to the complex issues faced by those with Down syndrome.”
Down syndrome cognitive research is a rapidly advancing area of research that holds great promise for improving memory, learning and communication for individuals of all ages with Down syndrome.  The goal of the Light the Way program is to expand awareness of Down syndrome cognitive research, including the efforts of the non-profit foundation Research Down Syndrome (RDS) to fund this research.
The Light the Way campaign adds support to RDS' efforts to educate and increase awareness and funding for Down syndrome cognitive research - motivating not only the Down syndrome community, but also the general public to support RDS' work to empower individuals with intellectual disabilities to reach their fuller potential.

"Research Down Syndrome is grateful for the continued support by the First Spouses of the Light the Way program. We are privileged that they are joining our efforts to Empower the Extraordinary,” said Dr. Robert Schoen, President of Research Down Syndrome.

Down syndrome is the most common chromosomal anomaly in humans, the result of having 47 chromosomes instead of 46. The impairment causes delays in physical and intellectual development that usually range from mild to moderate in nature.
 An estimated three million people worldwide have Down syndrome, including approximately 400,000 in the United States. Life expectancy for people with Down syndrome has more than doubled in the past twenty five years and now averages 55 to 60 years. 

In the past few years, researchers have identified multiple different neurobiological pathways, which represent potential targets for the development of drugs to positively impact learning and memory in individuals with Down syndrome.

RDS is a 501c3 non-profit foundation which funds research at leading institutions directed towards identifying safe and effective biomedical therapies to treat the intellectual challenges associated with Down syndrome. These studies now provide the promise of biomedical therapies for improving memory, learning and communication in individuals with Down syndrome, offering the potential for increased life opportunities.

For more information, go to www.researchds.org , or contact RDS: info@researchds.org or 877.863.2121.