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The Journals are the premier publications for high-quality, hyperlocal news and advertising in Monmouth County, New Jersey

Feb 27, 2020

Hazlet Family Advocates for Down Syndrome Rights — By Running 250 Miles

By Melissa Acquaviva

Dori and Jim Newton, with their children Theo and Isla

Did you know that individuals with Down syndrome risk losing their Social Security benefits if they get married?

Did you know that individuals with Down syndrome are not eligible for organ transplants in most states?

Hazlet resident Dori Newton and her family know this all too well. Dori and her husband, Jim, will be participating in a relay-style 250+ mile run as a mission to make sure as many people as possible are made aware of and can advocate for the rights of those with Down syndrome.

“The reason we are so passionate about fundraising for the NDSS [National Down Syndrome Society] is because we want our daughter and all individuals with Down syndrome to have the same opportunities and rights as anyone without a disability.”

Dori, a make-up artist, and Jim, a graphic designer, currently live in Hazlet with their two children, 8-year-old Theo and 10-year-old Isla who has Down syndrome. Being active with their children is important to the Newtons. They love spending time outside hiking, riding bikes and just incorporating exercise where they can.

Jim Newton and his children

“We just want our children to know the importance of exercise and the importance of fighting for what you believe in,” Dori said.

Running and exercising is nothing new for the Newtons, as they are both accomplished runners. Dori has competed in numerous triathlons as well as an Ironman competition.

“We originally got into running because we wanted to lead a healthier lifestyle and [be] better role models for our children,” Dori said.

The National Down Syndrome Society, the leading human rights organization for all individuals with Down syndrome, will host its third annual Run for 3.21 on Thursday, March 19.  The run, which covers 250+ miles from New York City to Washington, D.C. will serve as a major fundraiser for the NDSS in recognition of World Down Syndrome Day on Saturday, March 21.

Isla Newton cheering at a race

This multi-day adventure kicks off at the United Nations in New York City at 6 am on March 19 and ends the morning of March 21, on the steps of the Capitol in Washington, D.C. Along the way, the run will pass through New York, Princeton, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Wilmington and into the heart of Washington, D.C. After running relay-style for 48 hours, the athletes finish together in support and celebration of World Down Syndrome Day and all individuals with Down syndrome.

The NDSS provides state-of-the-art, comprehensive programming to all individuals with Down syndrome and their families. To learn more about the NDSS, visit NDSS.org.