Austin Underwood and Jenny Stone love to take pictures together. They are always smiling, clearly enjoying one another's company. Later this month, one of those photos will be projected bigger-than-life in New York City's Times Square as part of a video presentation to help spread awareness and spark inclusion for people with Down syndrome.
"Yeah, it was an amazing opportunity," Stone said. "It's the greatest moment. My dream is to be on the big screen. It's awesome!"
Stone is 40. Underwood is 43. They were born with Down syndrome, which occurs when there is a full or partial copy of chromosome 21. An estimated 1 in 700 babies is born with Down syndrome.
"So in 1978 we were still given the choice, did we want to take him home from the hospital," Underwood's mom Jan Underwood recalled. "So here we are in 2021 and he is going to be on the Jumbotron with his girlfriend, so I think it shows just how much the world has grown."
Their mothers both said it was important for people to see their children in photos as a couple.
"They're just like any other young adult," Glenna Stone said. "They want to live their life. They want to enjoy their life."
The couple wants to show how much they love and care for each other.
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"Absolutely amazing," Stone said of Austin. "Just brightens your day up every time I see him."
"She's really pretty," Underwood said of Jenny. "I treat her like my queen."
Their photo will be part of a video presentation in Times Square on Sept. 18 to help kick off the National Down Syndrome Society's 'Buddy Walk' and Down Syndrome Awareness Month in October.