DDDay 2016—celebrating advocates for those with developmental disabilities

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NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB) – Megan Bomgaars is one of the stars of the popular A&E Network series “Born This Way”, which is about how 7 young people with Down Syndrome cope with everyday life experiences.

The show celebrates diversity, and Megan shared her life story with Western New York advocates for those with developmental disabilities for “DDDay 2016” at the Niagara Falls Conference and Event Center, Thursday.

The 28th Annual Developmental Disabilities Awareness Day was full of celebrating, educating, and supporting people with developmental disabilities, all under one big roof, and organizers estimated about 1,400 people took part in Thursday’s activities.

Megan Bomgaars travels with her mother Kris, and they are two very powerful advocates. Kris said much of their inspiration comes from gatherings like DDDay, where fans share their success stories.

“And how grateful they are for just every little thing that they have accomplished, that inspires. That inspires me, and I think it inspires Megan as well.”

Megan in her 23 years has become a strong advocate for people with Down Syndrome, but she inspires many others as well.

“When my mom and my dad and my doctor told me that I have Down Syndrome, this is what God made me to have this–to have this Down Syndrome.”

In addition to being a star of a Reality TV, that has gained critical accalaim and a growing audience, Megan also owns a line of dyed apparel called Megology, and although Megan might make all this look easy, her mom says Megan had many of the medical issues that accompany Down Syndrome.

“She had pulmonary hypertension, heart defects, and leg braces. She also has celiac disease and seizures, and aspirates on a regular basis. So I think when people see her from the surface, they think that life is just Easy Street. But honestly, we put in a lot of hard work, and she has put in hard work.”

With a role model like Kris, Megan says she wants to get married and be a mom too, “When I do find out, if this child does have Down Syndrome, I will love this child and keep this child, and make this person smile just like I did.”

DDDay is sponsored by the Developmental Disabilities Alliance of Western New York (DDAWNY), and is the largest conference of its kind in the United States.

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