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For Immediate Release                                                                February 29, 2016

Kathryn Lariviere
o: 704.536.2163 | c: 704.622.9740

4th Annual 3-2-1 Dash for Down Syndrome aims to raise $45,000 for research, local education programs
March 19 event to include 1,200 participants for 5K, one-mile fun run and family festival “Extra” finish line makes this event especially memorable

CHARLOTTE, NC (February 29, 2016) – The Down Syndrome Association of Greater Charlotte (DSAGC) will hold its 4th annual 3-2-1 Dash for Down Syndrome 5K, one-mile fun run and family festival on Saturday, 3/19, just two days before World Down Syndrome Day on 3/21.  The DSAGC’s local 5K and one-mile fun run event raises funds for Down syndrome educational programs in the greater Charlotte area and for Down syndrome cognitive research.

This event’s title is the 3-2-1 Dash for Down Syndrome – and 3/21 is World Down Syndrome Day – because both are in recognition of the three copies of the 21st chromosome which causes Down syndrome (Ds). The “3” and “21” also play a unique role in the 5K.  One of the most memorable aspects about this race is the "extra” distance added at the end. Just as people with Down syndrome have an extra copy of the 21st chromosome, the run will have an extra finish line: the basic run course is the usual 5K/3.1 miles; however, if participants run an extra 0.11 mile to the second finish line, they will have run a 3.21 mile race, truly symbolizing support for people with Down syndrome.  At the second finish line, local people with Down syndrome and their families and loved ones will greet runners to thank them for going the extra distance.

The 5K begins at 8:30 a.m., while the fun run begins at 9:15 a.m. The local celebration for World Down Syndrome Day will actually take place at the 3-2-1 Dash event on Saturday and begins at 9:30 a.m.  It is free and open to the public. These festivities include bounce houses, food and photos with “Dash,” the 3-2-1 Dash mascot. There is a balloon release at 10:30 a.m.

This year, the Dash will have a special guest appearance from the Panthers mascot Sir Purr from 9-10 a.m. as well as a visit from former NFL player and Carolina Panther Dwight Stone!
The 3-2-1 Dash for Down Syndrome is a fast-growing event with nearly 900 runners/walkers participating last year and 1,200 expected this year. The goal is to raise $45,000 this year. Last year, the event raised $38,000 for local Down syndrome educational programs, such as the DSAGC’s Together in Education (TiE) program, which is a partnership between the DSAGC and area school systems (partners include: Cleveland County Schools, Gaston County Schools and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools) to maximize the educational experience for students with Ds. Teachers are supported through resources, training, and best practices on educating students with Ds.
Funds raised at the 3-2-1 Dash for Down Syndrome also support LuMind Research Down Syndrome (RDS) Foundation. LuMind’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 so they participate more successfully in school, lead more active and independent lives, and avoid the early onset of Alzheimer’s disease.” According to LuMind RDS, “for many individuals with Ds, a 10%-20% improvement in cognitive ability would provide them with the ability to live independently, hold a job and be fully integrated within their communities.”

To register, visit  

Time: Saturday, March 19, 2016 from 8:30 a.m. – noon
Location: Elevation Blakeney, 8835 Blakeney Professional Drive, Charlotte NC 28277
Course: 5K/3.1 miles; run an extra .11 miles to the 2nd finish line for a 3.21 finish!

• 5K Registration Fees: $30 Feb. 1 - March 18; $40 Race Day
• Fun Run Fees: $20 Feb. 1 - March 18; $25 Race Day
• Spirit Runner (t-shirt only): $25 now through race day
• World Down Syndrome Day celebration at the 3-2-1 Dash: free

Timeline of events:
7 a.m.         Registration and packet pickup opens
8:15 a.m.      Registration closes
8:30 a.m.         5K starts
9:15 a.m.            1-mile fun run starts
9:30 a.m.          Awards
9:30 a.m.    World Down Syndrome Day celebration opens
10:30 a.m.           Balloon release

Editor’s Note:  Photos and video of the previous “3-2-1 Dash for Down Syndrome” events are available. Preview and on-site interviews available, as well.

Fast facts about Down syndrome
* Approximately 1,000 people with Down syndrome live in the Greater Charlotte area and approximately 250,700 people in the United States.
* Down syndrome affects people of all races, ethnicities and socio-economic levels.
* Down syndrome is the most commonly occurring genetic condition—one in every 691 babies born in the United States is born with Down syndrome.
* The life expectancy of people with Down syndrome has increased dramatically in recent decades – from age 25 in 1983 to age 60 today.

The correct name of this diagnosis is Down syndrome. There is no apostrophe (Down). The "s" in syndrome is not capitalized (syndrome).

Encourage others to use people-first language. "The person with Down syndrome," not "the Down syndrome person." A person with Down syndrome is not "a Downs." A person "has" Down syndrome, rather than "suffers from," "is a victim of," "is diseased with" or "afflicted by." Here are some basic guidelines for using People First Language:
* Put people first, not their disability
* A "person with a disability," not a "disabled person"
* A "child with Down syndrome,” not a "Downs child"
* Use emotionally neutral expressions
* A child "receives special education services," not "in special ed"
* A "cognitive disability" or "intellectual disability" is preferred over "mentally retarded"
* "Typically developing" or "typical" is preferred over "normal"
* "Accessible" parking space or hotel room is preferred over "handicapped"

       The Down Syndrome Association of Greater Charlotte (DSAGC) is a non-profit, family support organization. The goal of the DSAGC and its families is to enable individuals with Down syndrome (Ds) to reach their full potential and become respected members of their community.
       Our mission is to enhance the quality of life for all individuals with Ds by providing information and support to individuals, families, professionals and the community through educational and social activities. For more information, please visit
PO Box 34787  |  Charlotte, NC 28234  |  704.536.2163  |

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