Stingrays haul in the cash

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Wednesday March 21 was a big day for two very special reasons, writes Wetherby News columnist Jemima Browning.

Sports Relief Week 2018 ran from March 19-23. The middle of this week also marked World Downs Syndrome Day.

Tadcaster Stingrays celebrated both of these events along with the rest of the UK and the world.

After our very first Special Olympics gala I was approached by one of the swimmers at Stingrays.

She asked me if for Sports Relief this year she and her friends from Stingrays could do a sponsored swim.

She wanted to do this to help other young people like her be happier.

Sport has had a huge positive impact on this young woman and she has grown so much over the last two years while Stingrays has been in her life.

She, like other members of the squad, has ambition, confidence and the will to help other fellow aspiring sports men and women.

I loved the idea and so did all the other parents of the Stingrays members. A chance to raise awareness and hopefully allow other young people to have the opportunity to be happy and healthy was something everyone was very excited to do. So, on March 21 at our usual Stingrays session all the swimmers were set the challenge to swim as many lengths as they could in an hour continuous swim.

This was a large test which all swimmers rose to. They all worked so hard and motivated each other to keep going for an hour without stopping. Our small team at Tadcaster Stingrays raised a huge £400 so far and we are still collecting.

This money goes toward helping 200 UK projects perform amazing and much needed work. Projects funded and run by Sports Relief go to help with malaria care, maternal health, mental health and much more. I am so proud of all the members of Stingrays for their excellent hard work.

World Downs Syndrome Day raises awareness of Downs Syndrome on the 21st day of the third month to represent the three number 21 chromosomes all people with Downs Syndrome have.

The campaign urges people to buy the official ‘lots of socks’ or to wear odd socks. This campaign comes from the fact that the shape of socks is similar to that of chromosomes.

The socks also symbolise the fact that people with Downs Syndrome are different but the same. An odd pair of socks may be different colours and have different patterns but can still be worn together.

We just need to change our attitudes towards wearing matching socks, this reminds us that how we think makes a huge impact on whether those with Downs Syndrome feel included or welcome.

It was so nice to see twitter and Facebook full of people with and without Downs Syndrome wearing their odd socks to support the cause.

The awareness was increased by the release of the carpool karaoke featuring 50 mums and their children with Downs Syndrome. This heart-warming clip went viral after Christina Perri and James Corden shared it.

The mums and their children all lip synced and signed along to Perri’s song.

The video challenges and changes perceptions surrounding Downs Syndrome and each mum wanted to show how they wouldn’t change a thing.

The week was an opportunity to raise awareness of our common goal to promote a unified generation, ensuring we all achieve our aspirations and support on another on that journey.