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Federal Way family spreads positive messages to raise awareness for Down syndrome

A Federal Way family is placing signs that say "love" around the city to spread acceptance for Down syndrome.

FEDERAL WAY, Wash. — A Federal Way family is trying to spread a little love to help people understand something that makes their daughter very special.

The family is placing signs that read "love" around the city to promote acceptance and love for people with Down syndrome.

It comes straight from the heart and radiates from the sweet smile of 4-year-old Arianna, who is the inspiration for the signs. Her nickname in the family is butterfly, and the signs include two butterflies painted blue and yellow.

“She is a love and she makes sure that everybody feels love on a daily basis,” her mother Andrea Graham said. “We would love it if people would come and talk to us; that's the only way people are going to see the difference.”

The difference is described in a little note that comes along with the sign. 

“It tells a little bit about her, and it says this is a random act of kindness, and it invites people to come and see her page,” Andrea said.

Credit: KING
A Federal Way family has placed signs that read "love" around the city along with a note about 4-year-old Arianna, who has Down syndrome.

March 21 is World Down Syndrome Day, and Arianna's family is also hoping for more than just awareness; they’re hoping for acceptance.  

“We've had people say, 'I'm sorry,' we've had people pull their children away from Arianna, or people that stare,” she said. “People that look at her in just like such a sad face. There's nothing to be sad about – she's an amazing person.”

They're leaving one each day in different spots around Federal Way, and they've already heard from a few people who found them. Their paper also encourages people to stop using what they call the “r” word to describe people with down syndrome.

They believe that the extra chromosome is something to celebrate. 

“We want to spread that there is so much surrounding down syndrome," she said. "I think people that don't know someone with down syndrome is missing out."