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Down Syndrome International
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Luka, from New Zealand

Luka from New Zealand

Kia ora. My name is Luka.

I have been swimming as a Para swimmer for some time now in Christchurch which is in Canterbury, New Zealand. I have been swimming with my local swim club and have been taking part in local, regional and national swim competitions.

This year I have represented my school, Papanui High School and have done brilliantly well at the Canterbury, South Island and National Swimming Champs as a para-athlete. It’s fun down at the pool but I do need to be committed.

I was named the “Top Young Sportsman with a Disability 2021′ at the recent Zonta Awards in Canterbury.

I feel very proud and happy to represent my school and get this award. I have trained hard to get fit and fast. The local newspaper wrote a story about me which I would like to share with you. It is exciting. I hope you enjoy reading it. 

Part one

Part one

Part two

Part two

It is summer here and it is the end of the school year and the start of our long summer holidays.

I have just won an amazing award with Youth Voice Canterbury. I am very proud. I have won the Advocate for Inclusion and Diversity Award for the Waitaha-Canterbury Youth Region.

Luka's award

Luka’s award

I am also a runner-up for the Youth Game Changer award.

Why? I get out in my local community, swim at my local club, represent my school and I am a Football Ambassador. I also do work experience successfully. People see me everywhere and know that I can do everything given time and support. I also have my own YouTube channel that tells my story.

From my mum Angelique:

“This is an especially important award for Luka as nominations are open to all Youth from 16 – 24 years in Canterbury. This is not a disability award, so Luka has been judged for his ability, not his disability. Luka is certainly increasing awareness and understanding around Down syndrome and opening doorways for others”.

Enjoy the YouTube clip that Youth Voice Canterbury used to promote my success. It shows many of the things I do and why I was chosen for this award.

Ngā mihi from Luka

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The best way to promote awareness of Down syndrome is for people with Down syndrome to share their own stories in their own words.

If you have a story that you would like to share with the world, please click here: SHARE YOUR STORY