This story is about my daughter, Valentina Guerrero, who has Down syndrome. She was born on September 16, 2011 and we found out about her condition that day. Interestingly enough we had picked her name years ago, which means brave warrior in Spanish. Although the first few weeks were incredibly hard because we were quite ignorant about Down syndrome, with her innate wisdom and pure love, Valentina opened our eyes and showed us the infinite benefits of this magical world and how lucky we truly are! We realized that in this path of life we will face some challenges - but what family doesn’t? - however the rewards that someone with Down syndrome brings are far more important and fulfilling!
We decided to make it our life’s mission to change the perception of Down syndrome shining a light on the wonderful experiences and lessons that people with Down syndrome bring to life's journeys. A few weeks after we set this goal for ourselves, we got a call from a top fashion executive asking if Valentina would be interested in modeling! At 9 months old, she became the first child with Down syndrome to be the main model for the prestigious fashion brand, Dolores Cortés USA. Dolores Cortés is a respected European swimwear designer and this summer is in charge of designing the outfits for the Spanish synchronized swimming team for the 2012 London Olympics. As her U.S. model, Valentina will appear on the cover of DC KIDS 2013 (children’s collection) catalogues and brochures which will be sent to clients, distributors and specialized media. Furthermore, over 500 guests will receive these materials at Mercedez Benz Fashion Week in Miami Beach on July 20, 2012, and thousands of individuals that attend this famous event will be greeted by posters with her signature smile!
Not only does this show that people with Down syndrome are just as beautiful and capable of anything they set their minds to, but it also carries a clear message of inclusion. Every child deserves the same opportunities regardless of their physical, economic, social, racial or medical condition. Valentina hasn’t even turned one, and is already working to change society’s values by opening our minds to a wider definition of beauty, and celebrating that we are all different, and that’s what makes us unique!