The Swedish Down Syndrome Association and Down Syndrome Norway combined efforts to organize an online conference with John and Mark X. Cronin, co-founders of John’s Crazy Socks, as the featured speakers. The event gathered parents, advocates and people with Down syndrome to hear John and Mark’s inspirational story and to hear success stories about the employment of people with Down syndrome.
“We had a great time speaking with the families from Sweeden and Norway,” said John Cronin. “Even when we speak to people in a new country, the message is the same: look at what people with differing abilities can do.”
Karen Flø from the Swedish Down Syndrome Association (Svenska Downföreningen) said was excited with the results. ”We organize a lot of these webinars. You could tell by the comments. This was the best, so exceptional.”
Delivering a Message of Hope and Inspiration
When a child is born with Down syndrome, families often hear only bad news about medical challenges and perceived limitations. “It is maddening,” said Mark, “When John was born, we wanted to celebrate our son, but so much of the world only sees the negative. We did not want those negative attitudes to limit our son. It is important that parents hear the positive and that they know they are not alone.”
John Cronin has Down syndrome and could not find meaningful work upon leaving high school. But John is a natural entrepreneur and if he could not find a job, he would create one. He suggested to his father that they go into business selling crazy socks. They bootstrapped their business into the world’s largest sock store with thirty-four employees, twenty-two of whom have a differing ability. John and Mark were named EY Entrepreneurs of the Year.
John said, “I have Down syndrome, but I want people to see that Down syndrome never holds me back.”
“It is important that we speak with people with Down syndrome, their families and supporters. We want to show what is possible. We offer encouragement and show them there is a better world that awaits their children,” said Mark X. Cronin.
Arranging for John and Mark to Speak at the Conference
Karen Flø from the Swedish Down Syndrome Association (Svenska Downföreningen) reached out last spring. ”I watched your brilliant talk on supported decision-making at the United Nations for World Down Syndrome Day 2023 and wondered if you would be interested in holding part of that talk for our members?”
She worked with John and Mark to arrange for them to speak at a time with the maximum impact. Karen connected with Down Syndorme Norway to create the largest possible audience for the talk.
The comments made by attendees after listening to John and Mark were emotional and powerful:
- Thank you! So many tears of happiness!
- Thanks for a lovely and inspirational presentation!
- Thank you so much, you are Amazing
- Thanks so much for this wonderful presentation!
- Thank you so much! You are truly inspiring!
- Thanks so much – it’s an amazing story that touches me deeply and gives hope:-)) Bless you
- Many thanks ... very inspiring, and can't wait for my little to grow and share with him such experiences
- Going to start something special with my beautiful daughter one day, with the right idea
“It always feels good when people are happy after our talks,” said John. “After all, we are on a mission to spread happiness.”
Keynote and Event Speakers
You can have John and Mark speak to your organization or school. They share their entrepreneurial story of how a young man with Down syndrome together with his father created what is today the world’s largest sock store with a mission to spread happiness. Their speaking engagements bring laughter, tears and inspire people to see what is possible for each of us to achieve. They have spoken in person at events across Canada, the United States and Mexico and virtually at events around the world. They have spoken at events for Microsoft, EY, Bank of America, the Special Olympics, and the National Down Syndrome Society, among others.
About John’s Crazy Socks
John’s Crazy Socks was inspired by John Lee Cronin, a young man with Down syndrome, and his love of colorful and fun socks—what he calls his “crazy socks.” He and his father, Mark X. Cronin, started the company as a social enterprise with a mission of Spreading Happiness™. With more than 4,000 socks, John’s Crazy Socks is now the world’s largest sock store. More than half their employees have a differing ability, and their Giving Back program has raised over $650,000 for charity partners like the Special Olympics, the National Down Syndrome Society, and the Autism Society of America. Most of all, they are Spreading Happiness™.
For more information about John’s Crazy Socks, visit our webpage, Facebook page, Instagram account, TikTok or YouTube channel. You can also contact us at 631-760-5625 or via email at email@example.com.