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DENVER – Thirty-eight percent of Americans know someone with Down syndrome.

Down syndrome is a genetic disorder in which someone has three copies of chromosome 21 instead of two copies.

As a play on numbers, March 21 is World Down Syndrome Day.

It's a day to raise awareness of the strengths and accomplishments of those around us who have Down syndrome. Some estimates have 400,000 Americans living with Down syndrome; 6 million worldwide.

"A lot of time with disability, people think about what our kids can't do," Executive Director of the Global Down Syndrome Foundation Michelle Sie Whitten said. "Today really celebrates what they can do."

Whitten co-founded the foundation out of inspiration from her daughter Sophia who was born with Down syndrome.

There are fun events Friday at Children's Hospital Colorado to celebrate 3-21 Day. Friday night, the Global Down Syndrome Foundation's Young Professional Committee is organizing the "I Love You Dance Party."

Aside from celebrating those living with this genetic disorder, 3-21 Day also raises awareness to the need for more research.

The Centers for Disease Control has estimated the frequency of Down syndrome in the US is 1 in 691 live births.

Despite those numbers, Down syndrome is said to be the least funded major genetic condition by the National Institutes of Health.

That is why the Global Down Syndrome Foundation was established in 2009. It is devoted to funding break-through research at the Linda Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.

For more on 3-21 Day and the Global Down Syndrome Foundation: http://www.globaldownsyndrome.org/.

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