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A Swing for Hope

March 21, 2011 Leave a comment

by Jessamy Tang

This past October, the inaugural A Swing for Hope golf fundraising event was held in support of Down Syndrome Research and Treatment Foundation (DSRTF) and it was a resounding success. As A Swing for Hope’s co-chair, Jessamy Tang was excited to see the community rally behind such an important cause. The golf outing raised significant funds from individual donors and corporate sponsors, including multiple National Football League teams, American Airlines, Ritz Carlton Destination Club, Tiffany & Co, Morton’s Steakhouse, and more. The day began with an elaborate breakfast, before golfers began their individual rounds at Plandome Country Club in New York. The event Lynn Swann, a Hall of Fame football legend. After an enjoyable round of golf, players and other interested parties gathered for a dinner where Chris Rose, DSRTF’s Executive Director, shared with guests the recent progress in Down Syndrome cognition research, which A Swing for Hope was organized to support. The day culminated in an exciting and successful live and silent auction to support further research.

At the presentation, Chris Rose shared with the guests that Down syndrome affects about 400,000 people in the United States and 6 million worldwide. Down syndrome, caused by the presence of an extra 21st chromosome in the human genome, results in developmental and physical disabilities including cognitive impairment. DSRTF’s mission “is to stimulate biomedical research that will accelerate the development of treatments to significantly improve cognition, including memory, learning and speech, for individuals with Down syndrome…DSRTF believes that a narrow focus is critical to the success of our mission. As a result, the only research that DSRTF supports is that which focuses on understanding and improving cognition. Moreover, DSRTF only supports researchers and institutions that are committed to seeing their basic research translated into effective treatments.” The extra 21st chromosome affects each individual with the disorder differently. Some children born with the syndrome graduate from high school and hold jobs, while others suffer from severe mental handicaps. Previously, people believed there was no way to improve cognition for those with Down syndrome. Since scientists decoded the human genome in 2003, cognitive research into the disorder has become extremely productive. In 2004, scientists knew of no biological mechanisms that correlated with cognitive impairment in Down Syndrome victims. Today, multiple studies have identified avenues for improving cognition among both children and adults with Down syndrome. DSRTF continues to fund studies at Stanford University, Johns Hopkins University, the University of Arizona, and the University of California, San Diego.

For more information about advances in Down Syndrome, visit http://www.dsrtf.org and watch the following inspirational video: