LAUNCHED in 2006, World Down Syndrome Day takes place on 21st March, the 21st day of the third month being a significant date chosen to represent the cause of Down Syndrome, a genetic abnormality created by a third copy of chromosome number 21.

Around 750 babies (1 in 1000) are born each year in the UK with Down Syndrome. It is considered to be the most common inherited cause of learning disability and there is no cure.

Charities play an important part in supporting families of children with Down Syndrome providing respite care, therapies, play centres, work schemes and support.

On the Costa del Sol, charity Aspandem, based in San Pedro, is working hard to help as many people with disabilities as it possibly can by offering day centre, residence, occupation workshops and training opportunities to all nationalities.

But as with every charity in the area, fundraising has become more and more difficult over the past few years as the financial crisis has deepened and they are in need of our help now more than ever.

Aiming to increase awareness of Down Syndrome Day and raise much needed funds for Aspandem, Bliss Hair and Beauty Salon in Estepona have been holding a fundraising Bake Off event this week (until 23rd March). They are baking and selling yummy cakes (I can recommend the carrot cake!), inviting their clients and the general public to pop in, buy a piece of cake to eat in with a complimentary cup of coffee or tea, or take away to enjoy later.

Hairstylist Sian Thomas, whose son was born with Down Syndrome, today said she had been overwhelmed by local support and thanked everyone who has visited the salon so far bringing and buying cakes. But there are still many to be bought and eaten so there’s plenty of time to pay them a visit at their Guadalmansa salon to buy some cake or simply make a donation. At the end of the week everyone will be asked to vote for their favourite cake via Facebook and Twitter and the winning baker will be announced. 100% of the money raised will be given to Aspandem to put towards the cost of a much needed music system for children’s therapy sessions.

Over the past few months, Down Syndrome has become a cause close to our hearts. Unfortunately our Down Syndrome baby didn’t make it to full term but we had already taken the decision to make him part of our lives and were investigating the help and support available to families like us. Raising a family in a foreign country can be hard enough and finding specialist organisations to support and care for children with special needs creates even more challenges for first time parents.

Charities like Aspandam cannot keep going indefinitely without our help. Please support them if you can by eating a scrumptious piece of cake at Bliss Hair and Beauty Salon.

Thank you.

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