Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 20th 2017 Contents life A29
Monday, March 20, 2017 guardian.co.tt
Musician to inspire for
Down Syndrome Day
It was Irish playright George Ber-
nard Shaw who said,"People are al-
ways blaming their circumstances
for what they are. I don't believe in
circumstances. The people who get
on in this world are the people who
get up and look for the circumstanc-
es they want, and if they can't find
them, make them."
This was exactly what renowned mu-
sician Sujeet Desai did when he realised
that being born with Down Syndrome
was a reality that he could not change,
but can recreate.
Today, because of belief in himself
and the courage and will to conquer
all obstacles, at 35, Sujeet Dasai is the
world's most accomplished musician
born with Down Syndrome, a chromo-
somal disorder affecting about 1 in 1000
people and usually causing delays in
physical and intellectual development.
These delays are due to the presence of
additional genetic material in the cells.
So instead of having 46 chromosomes in
each of their cells, a person with Down
Syndrome has 47 chromosomes.
Desai was quoted as saying, "I was
born with Down Syndrome. Therefore I
learn things slowly. I have worked very
hard for so many years to learn what I
love to do to overcome the limitations
of my disability. I would like to be a
musician but my mission is more than
that. It is to bring hope to individuals
with disabilities, their parents, families,
educators and services that work with
them. My goal is continue to work to
make my mission possible."
His mission is easier as scientific and
medical studies over the years rendered
the 1866 diagnosis of idiocy by Dr John
Langdon Down null and void. Down be-
lieved people with the syndrome were
uncommunicative and incapable of
learning and leading a normal life.
Desai is a great role model for those
born with Down Syndrome. The deco-
rated musician plays seven instruments
which includes the Bb bass clarinet, alto
saxophone, violin, trumpet, piano and
Since 2000, Desai has performed
in over 40 states at times as a solo act
and other times alongside some of the
world's top musicians in various genres.
His debut at Carnegie Hall in 2015
earned him a standing ovation.
Desai is the featured speaker in the
annual conference held by the Down
Syndrome Family Network (DSFN) on
World Down Syndrome Day.
It is Desai's first visit to T&T and he
was chosen to be this year's speaker
because he fits nicely into this year's
theme, My Voice My Community.
According to the World Down Syn-
drome Day website, the theme is about
enabling people with Down syndrome
(and those who advocate for them) to
speak up, be heard and influence gov-
ernment policy and action, to ensure
that they can be included, on a full and
equal basis with others, in all aspects
The conference will take place at the
Hyatt Regency, Wrightson Road, Port-
of-Spain from 8 am. UWI lecturer in
child health Dr Prithiviraj Bahadursingh
as well as guest speakers from the US
are due to speak.
• For more information on the conference
and on featured speaker Sujeet Desai,
Multi-talented musician Sujeet Desai is
a role model for people with Down
Syndrome all over the world.
Rita Ora is out and Tyra Banks
is back in as the host of TV's
America's Next Top Model.
VH1 announced Thursday that
Banks will return to the reality show
next season. Production is set to be-
gin this summer.
Banks created America's Next Top
Model in 2003 and served as both
executive producer and host until
last year, when Ora was named the
Fellow executive producer Ken
Mok said Thursday that Banks' ab-
sence was "deeply felt" by the show's
Banks said they inspired her to
"have a change of heart" and return
Banks is also the new face of
America's Got Talent.
NBC announced earlier this week
that she will replace former host
Nick Cannon when the show returns
this summer. (AP)
Banks returns as host of
America's Next Top Model
Tyra Banks makes her return next season.
Desai lives a very independent life in
his Niagara Falls New York home. He
also travels worldwide to do inspira-
tional solo music performances and
self-advocacy workshops. He is the
official spokesperson for the National
Down Syndrome Society (NDSS).
But it's not just music and academics
that Dasai explores. He is also an ath-
lete at heart who won several med-
als in the 1999 World Games Special
Olympics in swimming, alpine skiing,
cross-country running and bowling. He
also holds a black belt in taekwondo.
Dasai's hard work has indeed man-
ifested in an array of awards for his
music and self-advocacy over the years.
These include an achievement award
on the United Nations International Day
of Persons with Disabilities in 2001.
In 2004 he was named by the World
Down Syndrome Congress a most
outstanding individual with Down
Syndrome and received the Honour
and Pride award.
He also received the Leaders' Award
by the Genetic Alliance at the National
Geographic Society Museum in Wash-
ington, DC in 2006.
Desai has also been the subject of
many documentaries and interviews
with leading newspapers and maga-
zines including the Wall Street Journal
and Time Magazine. He has also been
featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show
MORE ON DESAI
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