A little boy from North Texas will be one of the stars of a video shown on the giant screen in the heart of Times Square on Saturday, as the National Down Syndrome Society kicks off Down Syndrome Awareness month in October.
Twenty-one-month-old Noah Smith, of Dallas, was born with Down syndrome.
"He comes to Baylor twice a week for therapy and he's just your typical 21-month-old boy -- likes to have fun, play explore and do all those kind of things," said Noah's father, Rick Smith.
"He's very adventurous and likes to explore," said Noah's mother, Abbie. "He has no fear. He's very fun and like to dance and play."
This weekend, the world will meet Noah as part of a major program to raise awareness for Down syndrome.
"The video is pretty cool because it shows all ages, and it's just to show a lot of people all at once how awesome our kids are [and] how they're doing typical things -- playing, living life, going to prom -- they're doing all those things," Rick Smith said.
The Smiths said they got involved in hopes of bringing more awareness to Down syndrome.
"We want the world to know Noah is enjoying life, his life is something to celebrate, his life is important, and that he's doing things just like every other kid out there," Abbie Smith said.
Rick Smith is quick to point out that Down syndrome is not physically painful for his son.
"Noah's not suffering. Noah's not sick. Noah just has three copies of his 21st chromosome," he said. "That's what the Buddy Walk does -- it just helps people learn about people like Noah and all the other kids who have Down syndrome today."
Abbie Smith said she hopes more people come away with an understanding of Down syndrome.
"When you encounter people with Down Syndrome, you should communicate with them and not be afraid of them," she said. "They shouldn't be bullied or made fun of; they are just part of our diverse community."
The Smith family said there were tough times when Noah was born but any trepidation quickly gave way to celebration.
"The more we learned about Down syndrome, the more sadness and fear became exchanged for hope," Rick Smith said. "One of the things we want ... people know that is we are not living in this sad story, but that the story is great."
Noah's picture will be one of the 200 photographs that will appear in the video. More than 1,000 were submitted.
The video will be shown in Times Square as New York City hosts the 18th annual Buddy Walk in Central Park.
"We just hope it can encourage people and brings hope to people, because people really need hope," Rick Smith said.
October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month. To learn more about Noah, check out his website, www.NoahsDad.com