At Aerie, we’re always looking for ways to celebrate the many amazing communities that make up our diverse world. This World Down syndrome day, we want to honor the occasion by highlighting our badass Merchant boss Abby Vernon, VP of Aerie Merchandising, and her family’s unique story. Read on below to learn more about Abby and the importance of this day and raising awareness about Down syndrome! 

Abby and family.

What is the importance of this day to your family? 

For our family, this is a day for us to generate awareness for the Down syndrome community and to celebrate the value of each person’s uniqueness. For Abby and me, it’s an opportunity to reflect on how much stronger we’ve grown from the day we learned Ellie’s diagnosis. 

How do you recommend people educate themselves about Down syndrome? Are there any favorite resources you suggest checking out? 

The best way to educate yourself about Down syndrome is to talk to Abby! She loves to answer questions and talk about Ellie’s impact on our family’s life. Aside from this, Abby was recently President of the Board of Directors for the Down Syndrome Association of Pittsburgh and made it one of her initiatives to improve the website as a resource for the community. Check it out!

What has Down Syndrome taught your family about support? 

While we all have different strengths and challenges, our family is in this together. A little patience and teamwork go a long way toward building a supportive family! 

What are your favorite ways that your family celebrates each other’s differences? 

We want each of our kids to live happy, healthy, and fulfilling lives, so we think it is important for each of us to have interests to pursue, whether that is an activity we do together or space to do an activity alone. 

Ellie smiles big for a photo.

What do you wish more people knew about Down syndrome? 

We all want and need to be included in the community — with a little patience and encouragement, people with Down syndrome can do many of the same things as typical people. 

One word to describe your family: 


Abby with family during the holidays.

Now, celebrate along with us by checking out the video below which pays homage to the #LotsOfSocks initiative to raise awareness about Down syndrome. Then join in by choosing your own fun socks and invite your friends and family to help amplify the conversation! 

How do you and your family show each other support and raise awareness about the issues important to each other? Let us know in the comments, Aerie fam!  

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  1. Diana

    I always wear shorts and mismatched colorful knee high socks on 3/21. I draws attention and gets people to ask me why I am dressed that way. I then can explain that it's World Down Syndrome Awareness Day and explain to people what Down Syndrome is. It's honestly one of my favorite days!

  2. Gina Cusano

    Amazing! What a fantastic company to be a part of seeing this effort made for Abby, Ellie and her family to feel your love and support. Abby is THE VERY BEST!! We were on the Down Syndrome of Pittsburgh Board together for several years. I miss her bright smile and even brighter ideas!!!


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