Since the 1980s, October has been celebrated as Down Syndrome Awareness Month. At John’s Crazy Socks, we join the celebration by highlighting what people with Down syndrome can do.
Our co-founder and inspiration, John Cronin, has Down syndrome. John will tell you, “I have Down syndrome, but Down syndrome never holds me back."
Capabilities and Obstacles: A Life with Down Syndrome
John understands the opportunities and capabilities of people with Down syndrome, just as he understands the hurdles and obstacles that people with Down syndrome often face. As he was finishing high school, John went looking for a job, but he could not find meaningful work. A natural entrepreneur, if John could not find a job, he would create one. He told his father, “Dad, I want to start a business with you.” Eventually, John suggested they sell crazy socks because he had always loved crazy socks. That is how John’s Crazy Socks was born.
The business John built is now the world’s largest sock store. We have shipped 390,000 orders to 88 different countries and John’s socks have been worn by Presidents, movie stars, athletes and people across the U.S. and the world. We have created 34 jobs and more than half are held by people with differing abilities. John says, “We want to show the world what is possible. We want to show what people with differing abilities, people like me, can do.” Most of all, we are on a mission to spread happiness.
What is Down Syndrome?
Down syndrome is the most common genetic condition. People with Down syndrome have a little bit extra. Humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes; people with Down syndrome have an extra 21 chromosome. Most people with Down syndrome (95 percent) have three 21st chromosomes, this is known as trisomy 21. John has trisomy 21. The extra chromosomal material affects how the body and brain develop and causes the characteristics associated with Down syndrome.
People with Down syndrome will share some common traits such as low muscle tone, upward slant to the eyes, and a single deep crease across the center of the palm. Many people with Down syndrome will be small in stature. John has a brother who is 6 foot 6 inches tall and another who is 6 foot 3 inches tall. John is 5 foot 4 inches. It is important to remember that each person with Down syndrome is unique and each person will manifest different aspects of the syndrome.
Talking about People with Down Syndrome
We will tell you that John is an entrepreneur who happens to have Down syndrome. We refer to people with Down syndrome not as a Down syndrome person. And the correct term is Down syndrome, not "Downs syndrome" or "Downs."
Down syndrome is exactly that, a syndrome, a condition. It is not a disease. John has Down syndrome. He does not suffer from it and he is not afflicted by it. People with Down syndrome will have an intellectual disability or cognitive disability. The term retarded or mentally retarded is considered a most offensive slur and should never be used. John cannot do abstract math and struggles with abstractions, thus he does not understand metaphors. At the same time, John is brilliant in many ways. To focus on what John cannot do or what anyone cannot do is to miss the powers they do have. Mark X. Cronin, John’s father and co-founder will remind us, “Do not be blinded by a person’s limitations, be awed by their possibilities.”
Celebrating Down Syndrome Awareness Month
John is a man of action so he will be busy celebrating World Down Syndrome Month.
On October 2, John will attend a Board meeting for the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS). John joined the board both so he could give back and because he wants to lead the fight to advance the rights of people with Down syndrome. NDSS is the world’s leading advocacy group for the human rights of people with Down syndrome.
On October 8, John and John’s Crazy Socks will stage a Fashion and Art Show: Another Face of Beauty. All the models and artists will have a differing ability and will include people with Down syndrome.
On October 15, John will join the Alexander’s Angels Buddy Walk on Long Island celebrating people with Down syndrome. NDSS organizes Buddy Walks across the country to raise awareness, to push for acceptance and to raise funds to support people with Down syndrome. John loves to participate in Buddy Walks and John’s Crazy Socks supports many Buddy Walks with its Charity Fund Raising Program, Buddy Walk Socks and donations.
Speaking Engagements. John and his father and co-founder, Mark X. Cronin, are frequent keynote and public speakers. During Down Syndrome Awareness Month, they will bring their message of hope and possibilities to students at Long Island University and to attendees at Stanford University Neurodiversity Summit. They will also be speaking to employees at major corporations including Microsoft, Moody’s, Kohl’s, Wex and Lumen.
Down Syndrome Awareness Products. John Cronin created the world’s first Down Syndrome Awareness Socks and now John’s Crazy Socks offers a full line of products to celebrate people with Down syndrome including socks and blankets. We donate 10 percent from the sale of these products to the National Down Syndrome Society and the Long Island-based ACDS.
John and Mark host a weekly podcast – The Spreading Happiness Podcast – and in each episode, along with their fun banter, updates on John’s life and the jokes they tell – the boys highlight a business owned by a person with differing abilities and share good news stories about people with Down syndrome and other differing abilities. You can hear their podcast on all the usual podcast platforms.
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 $550,000 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 or YouTube channel. You can also contact us at 631-760-5625 or via email at email@example.com.