The leading human rights organization for all individuals with Down syndrome.

National Down Syndrome Society
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NDSS Expands Team to Focus on Health and Wellness Initiatives for the Down syndrome Community

Wilmington, DE resident Michelle Ray to head new Athlete Ambassador Program

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Nov. 7, 2016) – The National Down Syndrome Society has hired Michelle Ray of Wilmington, Del., to lead the newly-created Team NDSS. The program will focus on fundraising for NDSS, building the athlete ambassador program and developing health and fitness initiatives for members.

The Athlete Ambassador program will launch in January 2017 and will recruit several hundred recreational athletes across the nation to be Down syndrome athletic ambassadors. These ambassadors will help organize teams and raise NDSS funds for various athletic events. The inaugural charity event is scheduled for March 21, 2017, which is World Down Syndrome Day.

“We are pleased to add this much-needed program to our repertoire of services, and Michelle is the perfect fit to head the program,” said Sara Hart Weir, president of NDSS. “Michelle is more than qualified on a professional level due to her many years of human resources and organizational development expertise. And she is also personally invested with NDSS because of her years of serving as an advocate.”

Ray has been an advocate in the disability community for over a decade, starting when her son was diagnosed with Down syndrome. Recently, she raised more than $11,000 for NDSS by competing in the Atlantic City Ironman 70.3.

“When Matthew was born and diagnosed with Down syndrome 10 years ago, I never would have imagined our life today being so enriched and blessed with the most amazing community,” Ray said. “We have connected with hundreds, even thousands, of people through NDSS and built lifelong friendships all because of the common connection of an extra chromosome.”

Ray brings nearly 20 years of human resource, organizational development and recruiting experience to NDSS. She is a graduate of Virginia Partners in Policymaking, a founding member and former co-chair of the Virginia Down Syndrome Alliance, a former board member of the Down Syndrome Association of Northern Virginia and two-time co-chair of the DSANV Buddy Walk, a former NDSS DS-Ambassador of Virginia and Delaware, and current board member of the Down Syndrome Association of Delaware.

Ray received a Master of Science degree in Human Resources Management from George Washington University in Washington, D.C. and a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Va. She also is a Senior Professional in Human Resources. She is currently pursuing her certification as a personal trainer from the American Council on Exercise.

“I am excited to combine my passion and advocacy experience by leading NDSS members and families toward a more healthy and active lifestyle,” said Ray.

Michelle resides in Wilmington, Delaware, along with her husband, Brian, and four children.



The National Down Syndrome Society, the leading human rights organization for all individuals with Down syndrome, is a nonprofit organization with more than 350 affiliates nationwide representing over 400,000 Americans who have Down syndrome. NDSS envisions a world in which all people with Down syndrome have the opportunity to enhance their quality of life, realize their life aspirations and become valued members of welcoming communities. For more information, visit

  • Buddy Walk
  • NDSS Yourway
  • NDSS DS-Ambassadors