FIRST HAND: Mencap Myth Buster Sophie Potter gets ready to rock her socks

This World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD), taking place on Monday 21 March 2022, Mencap is asking everyone to Rock Your Socks and help them raise vital funds to support people with a learning disability. World Down Syndrome Day is an inclusive day for everyone, giving us a chance to celebrate and support people with Down syndrome and people with other learning disabilities. Here, Mencap Myth Buster and Rock Your Socks Champion Sophie Potter discusses showing what life with a learning disability really looks like.

Why Socks?

Human cells have 46 chromosomes. We inherit 23 chromosomes from our mums, and 23 from our dads. When you look very closely, chromosomes are shaped like little socks and they match into pairs just like socks, too. People with Down syndrome have a unique extra copy of chromosome 21. The extra chromosome doesn’t match up, so this is why we wear odd or mismatched socks on WDSD.

Sophie Potter, who is 32, has a learning disability and Down syndrome and wants to show everyone what living life with a learning disability looks like and why she is supporting Rock Your Socks this WDSD.

Having Down syndrome doesn’t stop me living my life, having fun and feeling loved by all my friends and family. I’m a sister, friend, dancer and party girl who wants to show the world that people with a learning disability know how to have a good time too.

I love going out dancing on nights out in London with my sister Emily, dressed up in sparkly dresses and high heels. I want to show people what living life with a learning disability really looks like. 

I am proud to have Down syndrome and I like to raise awareness about it so that’s why I’m supporting Mencap’s Rock Your Socks fundraiser to celebrate World Down Syndrome Day. I will be wearing my odd socks and I want everyone to wear your odd socks and donate to Mencap. During lockdown Mencap supported me lots so I want to help give back. 

Sophie in her odd socks

I also want to bust myths that people have around Down syndrome, so that’s why I’ve become a Mencap Myth Buster. People think people with a learning disability can’t go out partying, but we can. I want to go to Ibiza: they have all sorts of parties over there!

Being a Mencap Myth Buster is important to me as I want to help change the stigma around learning disability and see society change. People have said that I am cute because I have Down syndrome. I am gorgeous, sexy and fun. Not cute.

Mencap recently carried out a survey that found that two out of three adults in the UK do not know what a learning disability is. There is still a long way to go but I hope by being a Myth Buster we can educate and show how unique learning disability is.

Help Mencap celebrate World Down Syndrome Day by taking part in the charity’s Rock Your Socks challenge. You will be raising vital funds to help Mencap continue providing essential support for people with a learning disability. More information about Rock Your Socks can be found online.

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