Health Supplement


Volume 1, Issues 3
November 1998


Chris Burke & Friends:

Defeating Down Syndrome

By Ambassadors Staff


Remember Corky? Chris Burke, once the star of the television series Life Goes On, has been named the Goodwill Ambassador for the American Down Syndrome Society (NDSS). Perhaps the most famous person with Down Syndrome, Burke has starred in seven television programs including his renowned role as Corky in ABC's 4 year series Life Goes On, and now has a music record to his name.

Corky with family in Life Goes On

Chris Burke latest contributions is a chapter entitled, "Believe in Yourself" in the 1999 book, Down Syndrome: A Promising Future, Together, edited by T.J. Hassold & D. Patterson and published by Wiley-Liss. 

"When I was a student, I loved writing for our school newspaper so I became a reporter," says Burke. "I even wrote a letter to President Reagan telling him about our school, and he wrote back to me and it was all printed in the paper." Burke believes this early motivation and determination prepared him for his current job with the National Down Syndrome Society. As well as being the official public spokesperson on behalf of the organization, Burke also edits NDSS's News & Views, a magazine written by and for young adults with Down Syndrome.
Always been an aspiring writer, Burke now
edits the NDSS magazine News and Views.
"When I graduated from school in 1986, I had 2 goals in life: (1) to help people with disabilities and (2) to be an actor. I'm happy to say, I have accomplished both goals. First, I worked at a school for the multi-handicapped in New York City. I loved all the children and had fun helping them. Then, I did become an actor - I loved playing Corky in ABC TV's Life Goes On for 4 years. I have also appeared in a few other tv shows such as: Promised Land, Touched by an Angel, The Commish, Heaven and Hell, Desperate and Jonathan: The Boy Nobody Wanted." Mr. Chris Burke
"So the message I want to leave with you is: believe in yourself, work hard, and never give up so all your dreams can come true!"
Chris Burke with country
singer LeAnn Rimes



To visit Chris Burke's personal Homepage, Click Here


The National Down Syndrome Society was established as a non profitable organization in 1979 to promote a greater understanding of the scientific, medical and developmental aspects of Down syndrome. With the support of its dedicated staff, such as Chris Burke and others, NDSS continues to move forward with its mission of increasing public awareness about, and discovering the underlying causes of Down syndrome through education, research and advocacy.

Down syndrome today occurs in approximately 1 in every 800 live births, and 1 in every 3000 of the general population is affected with the condition. With a million people affected around the world, and 350,000 in the America alone, the mission of educating the public is becoming a vital task. All people with D.S. have some level of mental retardation, between mild and moderate range. However, unlike popular thought, is not indicative of the many strengths and talents that each individual possesses. The National Society believes that people with Down syndrome who receive good medical care and are adequately integrated into community activities are expected to adapt successfully; attending school, making friends, finding work, participating in decisions which affect them and making positive contributions to their community. "People with Down syndrome are more alike their non disabled peers than they are different, and they deserve the same opportunities and challenges."


If you are interested on learning more about the activities of the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS), you can contact them at phone number: 1-800-221-4602.

Their activities include:
- several videos about the child and young adult with Down syndrome
- a quarterly newsletter, entitled NDSS Update which keeps readers abreast of advances in fields related to Down syndrome
- a magazine entitle News and Views written by and for young adults with Down syndrome and edited by Chris Burke, NDSS Ambassador
- a 2 year educational challenges program for children with Down syndrome (Directed by Gloria Wolpert, Ed.D.)
- scientific symposia: the NDSS has hosted 10 scientific symposia and their proceedings are published and distributed worldwide.
- science scholar awards

The Annual Clinical Genetics Meeting

Sponsored by The American College of Medical Genetics in cooperation with the 30th Annual March of Dimes Clinical Genetics Conference will be held in Miami, Florida (March 19-21, 1999) - It will include a special workshop on Down Syndrome. For further information visit the ACMG website.


Living with Down Syndrome:
A Global Challenge

With over one million people affected with Down Syndrome worldwide, the condition is the most common of all genetic disorders caused by chromosomal abnormalities. For this reason, most world countries are developing advocacy groups and educational agencies to help inform the public of the condition, programs for those diagnosed with D.S. and their subsequent integration into mainstream society. In Canada, for instance, most provinces have officially declared a week for Down Syndrome. The latest program was announced by the Premier of the Canadian province of Nova Scotia (seen below). The declaration proclaimed the week of November 1-7, 1998 as "Down Syndrome Awareness Week" in the East Coast province. Such occasions target educational programming and publication directed to enhancing public knowledge and awareness of strengths and contributions of individuals with Down Syndrome.
  Click to go to related article in Ambassadors Archives

Down Syndrome Encyclopedia

The growing popularity of the internet has made it the most recent avenue for Down Syndrome education. Many organizations from around the world are placing their regional information and sharing their experience with Down Syndrome. Specialized physicians and other care practitioners are now offering free online advice for families. Even families have created homepages dedicated to their loved ones with Down Syndrome with colourful stories of personal and first-hand experiences.

In its preparation of a "Down Syndrome Encyclopedia," the Ambassadors has selected some of the most informative internet sites on Down Syndrome from around the world.

National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS), USA
Down Syndrome Association (UK)
Canadian Down Syndrome Society
European Down Syndrome Association
Down Syndrome Online (Uno Mas!)
A light-hearted look at D.S.
A D.S. resource site
Dr. Len Leshin's Down Syndrome Website
Comprehensive information and resource page.
Italiana Down (Italy)
German Down Syndrome Webpage
Down Syndrome - Brazil
SETI Center, Caritas (Egypt)

The Ambassadors Homepage