Past Heroes

Our CDSS Heroes awards recognized amazing Canadians on World Down Syndrome Day.


CDSS Heroes

The Canadian Down Syndrome Society has acknowledged some of the incredible people in Canada’s Down syndrome community. These Canadian Down Syndrome Day Heroes, nominated by people across the country, are strong self-advocates and community leaders who make a difference in the lives of people with Down syndrome.

2015 Heroes

Emily Boycott from Milton
Emily is a 31-year-old accomplished rhythmic gymnast who has represented Canada at the World Summer Games in Athens, Greece and Shanghai, China. She is currently training for the 2015 World Summer Games in Los Angeles. Emily also works at Boston Pizza in Milton and volunteers with numerous organizations. Emily was nominated by the Halton Down Syndrome Association (HDSA). Leanne Tovey, Chair of HDSA wrote: “Emily is an amazing daughter, sister, aunt, friend, volunteer, employee and athlete…She gives back tenfold to her family and community. She is a treasure – she is a hero.”

Megan Allard from Spiritwood
Megan is a 17-year-old avid volunteer. She has lead many successful fundraising campaigns for Saskatchewan’s disability community. Megan is going to donate her awarded $500 for being a Hero to the Saskatchewan Association of Community Living (SACL) to support the Fusion Inclusion program. “Megan has been a huge part of the success of our programs in her community of Spiritwood. She has taken a leadership role with our Fusion Inclusion program, which promotes inclusion,” said Carolyn Ganes of SACL in her nomination letter.

Michael Meehan from Stittsville
Michael is an 8-year-old whose positive spirit and inspiring attitude has helped him persevere through his diagnosis of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. This has not deterred him from becoming a leading fundraiser who has helped raise thousands of dollars for CHEO. Michael is donating his award money to the CN Cycle for CHEO campaign. “Michael has not necessarily been dealt the fairest hand in life but he has made the most of it and has helped others in the process. Michael lives his life in such a way that no one sees a disability. They only see a bright and happy 8-year-old who is bravely fighting cancer. He is our hero,” wrote his father, Joe Meehan his nomination.

Angel Magnussen from Port Alberni
Angel is a 19-year-old who started an initiative called Hugginz by Angel, that sends personalized blanket to sick children. She has raised over $100, 000 for numerous children’s charities in Canada. “Angel gives me hope,” wrote Lisa Woodin, who sent in a nomination letter for Angel. “As the mother of a special needs child myself, I know that my son is going to have to go out there and find his place in the world. Angel has shown me that he too someday will be able to find his place and that comforts me.”

Andrew Banar from Windsor
Andrew is a 22-year-old who started his own company called Group Hug Apparel, a T-Shirt company that gives proceeds to various children-focused organizations and charities. “He is a hero, not because he has Down syndrome and because of his business, but because he goes above and beyond to make the world better for those who are facing challenges,” wrote Dianne Sedore-McCoy, who nominated Andrew. Sedore-McCoy is the grandparent of a child with Down syndrome. “With role models like Andrew, I am confident that my granddaughter will have a place in this world and be accepted for who she is.”

2014 Heroes

Daniel Vu from Edmonton
Daniel is a 22-year-old University of Alberta student. He is an accomplished athlete who has a black belt in Tae Kwon Do. He is a member of the Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity and an avid volunteer with several organizations: the Heart and Stroke Foundation, Edmonton Down Syndrome Society, Canadian Cancer Society, and Ronald McDonald House. Daniel was nominated by his sister Catherine and fraternity brother Kyle.

Reid “Pip” McCallam from Kingston
One-year-old Pip is known from her mom’s website the Happy Soul Project. Pip has inspired new and expectant parents and the world. Her viral message “What Makes You Different Makes You Beautiful,” was featured on The Huffington Post. Pip was nominated by her mom Tara and over 200 supporters from social media.

Nathan Purdy from Brantford
Nathan is a 22-year-old activist who started his own organization against human trafficking called Pennies for Freedom. His work was profiled by the 700 Club and he is a public speaker in Ontario. He was nominated by his friend Michelle, a parent advocate who he met through the Down Syndrome Association of Brantford.

Marie Webb from Halifax
Marie is a prolific artist who has devoted over 10,000 hours to her craft. She is the first person with Down syndrome in Canada to have a curated solo exhibition at a provincial gallery, the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. Marie was nominated by her friend Lynette, her mother, Renee, the Curator of Education and Public Programs at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Dale Sheppard, and her Team Possibles instructor Erin.

Wii‘um “William” Morin from Sudbury
Wii’um is a 6-year-old who is known across Ontario for his spirit and commitment to the Ojibway people and customs. An energetic performer, he is often seen taking the microphone from Pow Wow emcees to share the sound of a bird call or share a story. Wii’um was nominated by his father and his teacher, Elissa.

2013 Heroes

Allan McNeill
David Hall
Katie Johnson
Natalie Stevanus
Shawn McKenna

Super Six (Honourable Mentions)
Ada Chan
Adam Faulkner
Angel Magnussen
Miranda Yates
Nicholas Yin Ching Chan
Teresa Pinkoski

2012 Heroes

Dominique Baird
Andrew Banar
Janet Charchuk
Laurel Griffin
Jonathan Henry

Community Leaders:
Daniel Dees
The founding group of DSAP
MacDonald School
Saint John Down Syndrome Society
Michael Shaw
Matthew MacNeil (Honourable mention)
Fiona McLure (Honourable mention)
Austin Wilson (Honourable mention)

Take a walk in their shoes and discover a world of possibilities - not disabilities - that will motivate and encourage you to learn more and get involved.