When TJ Angus and his wife, Tiffany, welcomed their son Austin, they knew very little of what to expect but decided to take it one step at a time. “There was never a moment of despair when Austin was diagnosed with Down syndrome,” says Angus. “Once we knew he was healthy, our focus shifted to the future.” Angusbegan pushing Austin in a stroller as he ran to raise awareness about Down syndrome, a tradition that would continue well past Austin learning to walk on his own.
Last year, the Angus family learned about a number of research projects from LuMind Research Down Syndrome Foundation (LuMind RDS) at the annual National Down Syndrome Congress (NDSC) Convention that could go into clinical trials in his son’s lifetime and decided to get involved. “It’s nice to know that someone is out there doing this research, because that’s how real progress is made,” says Angus. This year, they are taking a few big steps and inviting local families to join them as they run or walk one step at a time in the Miles for Breakthroughs 5K on Saturday, July 14 at the Trinity Skyline Trail in Dallas to raise awareness and funds for Down syndrome research.
This fun run/walk will take place during the NDSC Convention that is bringing more than 2300 families to Dallas from July 12-15. “Miles for Breakthroughs is a chance for local families to join together in a fun way that both celebrates the Down syndrome community and propels it forward,” says Hampus Hillerstrom, President and CEO of LuMind RDS. “Currently most people are unaware that several major trends have now led to the possibility of near- to medium-term therapies based on solid scientific research hypotheses. This critical research is in need of support through events like Miles for Breakthroughs.”
LuMind RDS’ mission is focused on research in four key areas: preventing the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, improving cognition, developing gene therapies and advancing understanding. Proceeds from the event support LuMind RDS’ research projects and initiatives aimed at advancing research for safe, effective drugs and interventions into clinical trials to improve quality of life for individuals with Down syndrome. “In the next 3-5 years, clinical trials with promising drugs and interventions may be underway that will eventually provide families with more options to improve their loved one’s health and independence,” says Hillerstrom. “Research is the key to independence. Breakthroughs are close, and now is the time for our community to rally for Down syndrome research.”
Registration is still open for runners and teams to join and run Miles for Breakthroughs. Register online for $25 at www.ds-stride.org/runfordsdallas or in-person on the day of the race for $30. The race will begin at 7:30 a.m. Family and friends are encouraged to come support the runners.