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

National Down Syndrome Society
8 E 41st Street, 8th Floor
New York New York 10017
800-221-4602
[email protected] 

Ashley's Story

Ashley's Story

 

Hi, my name is Ashley DeRamus and I am a person with Down syndrome.

My imagination and drive to succeed know no limits. So, having Down syndrome has never stopped me from following any of my dreams.

Now, at the age of 34, I am an award winning athlete, a national advocate for individuals with Down syndrome and other disabilities, a public speaker, a fashion designer and the leader of a charitable foundation for people with Down syndrome.

As an athlete, I have earned 43 medals for swimming in the Special Olympics competitions. I am also a sailor, having logged 5 days on the HMS Bounty tall ship showing the world that having Down syndrome does not stop me from achieving my dreams. However, my dreams keep on growing.

As a national advocate and public speaker, one of my most cherished aspirations is to recite the Pledge of Allegiance at public forums in all 50 states to raise national awareness of the abilities of people with Down syndrome and to encourage people with Down syndrome to be informed voters. I have already led the Pledge in 30 states, at locations such as the Tournament of Roses Parade and the Grand Canyon. With 20 more states to go, I have had other opportunities to spread awareness of the varying abilities of people with Down syndrome using other platforms. I was interviewed at the United Nations speakers corner, which allowed me to show people from around the world how I, Ashley DeRamus, a person with Down syndrome can follow my dreams.

It was an honor when I was named one of the “6 Entrepreneurs with Down syndrome Who Are Inspiring the World” by Disney’s Babble. On top of being an international voice for people with Down syndrome and other disabilities, I had a music video debut with Grammy and Dove Award-winning Christian and gospel singer Jason Crabb for his new single, “Love is Stronger.” I starred in the video depicting families touched by Down syndrome. The video was a success and in September 2013 went on to be featured by USA Today.

As a young woman with Down syndrome, I was always struggling to find clothes that were both fashionable and fit me well. My mom and I did not understand why a woman with Down syndrome, like myself, should have to choose between being fashionable or finding clothes that fit me well. My mom and I launched Ashley by Design, a line of fashion-forward clothing especially designed to fit young ladies with Down syndrome who always want to look their best! My mom and I are the designers of the clothing line and believe that Down syndrome should never be an obstacle to wearing the latest styles that fit great. So, Ashley by Design is not only on trend, it is cut to perfectly fit the proportions of girls and ladies with Down syndrome. Even better is that young ladies that wear Ashley by Design can feel confident that they are a fashionable philanthropist, as proceeds from the sales of the clothing supports the Ashley DeRamus Foundation.

The Ashley DeRamus Foundation was launched by my mom and me in 2012. The Foundation's mission is to educate the public about Down syndrome. Among the many things, the foundation does to help educate the public about Down syndrome is our focus in early intervention at the Bell Center in Birmingham, Alabama. At Birmingham, Alabama’s Bell Center for Early Intervention we provide funding for early intervention, and I also volunteer at the Bell Center!

At the Bell Center, I work with babies with Down syndrome and children with other special needs. My hope is to be a role model, so when the parents of the babies and children meet me, they see that with a little imagination and drive to succeed, nothing can stop their children from following their dreams.

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