Boys Basketball Teams Hosts Down Syndrome Awareness Fundraiser

“Down syndrome is a trait, not a chromosomal disorder.  Down syndrome is kind, loving, caring, sassy, passionate, and most of all inspiring.  My sister has inspired me to do things that I would never have done because she instilled courage in me,” said varsity basketball player Mason Marquis.   On Friday, January 19, the OHS varsity and JV basketball teams hosted a Down syndrome awareness and fundraiser night for the Central Illinois Down Syndrome Organization that raised over $2100.

The event featured numerous activities ranging from a t-shirt sale to a bake sale with donations provided by the Olympia National Honor Society and basketball team parents.  There was also 50/50 raffle and 3 point shootout competition.  

“Down syndrome means to me that they put everyone’s happiness before their own.  It means that they put a smile on stranger’s faces.  They are family no matter how different they may seem.  The love for them is so great that they will never feel hated,” said varsity basketball player Brandon Jones.

The awareness night focused on the key aspects of “awareness, acceptance and opportunities,” said Shelley Marquis, coordinator of the Olympia Down Syndrome Awareness Night.  It also highlighted the CIDSO.  The Central Illinois Down Syndrome Organization (CIDSO) is a not-for-profit organization and is a support service for the families in  Central Illinois who had been touched by Down syndrome.   “CIDSO is all about creating inclusive opportunities and brighter tomorrows for those with Down syndrome,” said Mrs. Marquis.


The basketball players were asked what Down syndrome means to them:  “Down syndrome to me means that they give their all to show support for what they love. Someone with Down syndrome will be your number one fan through everything,”said varsity player Gage Eveland.


“Down syndrome means someone has a disadvantage in some ways but will make an effort to make the best out of everything and will always be your number one fan,” said varsity player Blake Stine.

“When I think of people I know with Down syndrome, I don’t think disability, I think of sweet, openly loving, interesting people. I have conversations with them that are no different than I have with anybody else. My friends with Down syndrome have told me that they just want to be talked to not talked down to like a child,” said varsity player Trey Wilson.