A gymnast from the UK has spoken out about the stigma she faced when she was diagnosed with Down syndrome at the age of six.
In a recent interview with the BBC, 19-year-old Olivia DePaula revealed that she has a ‘very small’ amount of Down syndrome and that she is not used to the attention it brings to her life.
‘I’m very proud of my condition and I think it’s important that people realise it is very rare.
‘The majority of people who have Down syndrome, it’s very rare and it’s a very small percentage.
I’m very lucky.’
But it can be a real challenge to have that kind of attention and it can affect your life.’
You have to be brave and you have to look after yourself.
It can affect you emotionally and physically.
‘You have a hard time living a normal life without it, you know?’
The actress told the BBC: ‘I am very lucky because I have a small amount of the condition.
I have had a few people come up to me and ask me for autographs.
‘But I just feel so lucky that I have been given the opportunity to live my life.
I love acting and I love gymnastics and I’m always up for anything.
‘That’s why I’ve always wanted to go to university, to be a teacher, be a mum, whatever I can do.’
Read more Olivia De Paula has spoken about the life of a Down syndrome athleteThe Down syndrome community has been growing rapidly in recent years and has reached an estimated 50 million worldwide.
Olivia De Paula, a gymnast with Down Syndrome who is now 19, explained: ‘It is important to note that we do have a very low prevalence of Down Syndrome in the UK, which is actually quite a good thing.
‘It’s just not the norm for us and it has a huge impact on the lives of many of us who are children with Down.
‘If you’re living with Down and are in a wheelchair and can’t use a toilet, that can affect the way you’re able to be around other people.
‘And it can also affect your ability to concentrate.
‘So it is really important that you look after your own health and safety and make sure you’re not going to have an accident or something like that.
‘Because that’s when it’s really dangerous.’
Watch the interview here:Watch the full interview with Olivia DePaula here:More: