Toddler with Down syndrome part of video campaign in Times Square

NEW YORK (WATE) — Leona Schwartz is all smiles as she poses next to her photo in Times Square.

A spotlight was shown on the Knoxville 22-month-old by the National Down Syndrome Society. Her photo was picked out of thousands of entries to be shown during a special video presentation on a jumbo screen in the heart of New York City.

The Schwartz family traveled to New York to see the video, which was followed by the 23rd Annual Flagship Buddy Walk.

This year, Buddy Walk events will be held in more than 275 cities across the country, as well as some international locations, in and around October with more than 325,000 people taking part around the globe.

The National Down Syndrome Society said the video, which kicks-off Down Syndrome Awareness Month in October, is meant to remind the world in a big way about the gifts that people with Down syndrome bring to their communities. It featured kids, teenagers and adults with Down syndrome working, playing and learning alongside friends and family.

The family said they want people to know that having a child with Down syndrome is a blessing. They also want others to know that there are resources to help parents.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately one in every 700 babies in the United States is born with Down syndrome, making it the most common chromosomal condition.

This is a developing story. Stay with 8News online and on air for the latest updates.

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