Jessica Morgan during her interview with KSBR. (Elizabeth Ortiz)
Jessica Morgan aims to inspire many as radio host Dawn Kamber interviews her on having Down Syndrome, for a weekly radio show called Collage.
“It was so inspiring to do this interview,” said Dawn Kamber. “I have been wanting to interview someone for years with this condition; to help and support parents who have a similar situation.”
At 24 years old, this blonde haired and blue-eyed girl lives with a genetic condition called Down Syndrome, while staying active and telling a message, ” Be who you want to be and live life more positive.”
Playing sports, riding horses, and even participating in competitive ballroom dancing are just some of the activities that Jessica Morgan is known to do, all while having a genetic condition in which a person has 47 chromosomes instead of the usual 46. The extra chromosome causes problems with the way the body and brain develop.
According to PubMed Health Symptoms include decreased muscle tone at birth, excess skin at the nape of the neck, small ears, small mouth and upward slanted eyes. Most children with down syndrome will never meet there potential height. Children also may have delayed mental and social development and common problems may include impulsive behavior, poor judgment, short attention span and slow learning.
Support for families is available at the Down Syndrome Association of Orange County (DSAOC), which has been the Morgan family’s go-to-place. This is where they met Lisa Lillienthal, who has an 11 year old son with Down Syndrome, named Cooper.
The DSAOC is the only county wide organization dedicated solely to serving Orange County’s Down Syndrome population and their families.
“One of the most common causes of human birth defects is Down Syndrome and occurs in approximately one in every 733 live births,” said DSAOC board member and family friend, Lillienthal. “I was scared but chose to move forward so I started to get prepared by researching and finding support. Most diagnoses occur at birth.”
“I don’t feel different and try to stay positive when others treat me different,” Morgan said. ” I just try to be who I am and want to help other people do the same.”
Living in California Morgan’s dream is to be an actress. She started acting classes and her mom will mention that she hasn’t looked back ever since. She is currently promoting an independent feature film that will be submitted to film festivals and can’t wait for the cast screening.
“I have always wanted to play Carrie, the horror girl.” Morgan said with a laugh.
She also describes working at Fashion Bug, the market, and at schools with children and loved that job best.
“What I want to do most is to help kids realize how important it is to be the person they want to be,” explained Morgan.
She also takes an active role in raising money for the DSAOC center.
To answer any questions or assist in guiding you, contact www.DSAOC.com or call 714.540.5794, Costa Mesa and listen to Monday nights at 7 p.m. to the weekly show Collage on Saddleback College, 88.5 KSBR.
for more support group information in Orange County.