The family of local baby born with Down Syndrome just learned their child was awarded a special honor.
Crystal Banegas is the mother of three-month-old Blake Banegas. She says Blake was born with the most common form of Down Syndrome called nondisjunction.
"I've dedicated all of my time to make sure that we are advocating for down syndrome, educating people on down syndrome, and just putting her out there so people can see that down syndrome has many faces," Banegas said.
A picture the family submitted will join 499 others in the this year's National Down Syndrome Society's annual Times Square Video, full of collective images promoting the value, acceptance and inclusion of people with Down Syndrome. Banegas told us,"We submitted her picture, crossed our fingers, hoped for the best and we were selected."
On September 15, the video will be played on a video board in Times Square and the family was thrilled the picture of Blake was chosen out of over 2,400 entries. "Oh my gosh we were so excited," Banegas said. "We bought plane tickets. We are heading to New York to see her on the jumbotron live and in person.
That's also the day the city holds their 24th annual Flagship Buddy Walk. Blake, her parents and three brothers, including 10-year-old Jaden will all be there. "It's to raise money for the organization, because they are nonprofit organization," Banegas said.
They will also be participating in San Antonio's Buddy Walk October 20th, which is a huge fundraising event for the organization. "People with down syndrome have a lot to teach us, and there is so little education out there for everybody else, and I was fortunate enough to learn and was blessed to have her so I could learn and share the word," Banegas said.
She may only be three months old, but Blake already has her own Facebook and Instagram to spread awareness. Banegas told us, "Smiling, she's learning how to laugh, but she's a very happy baby and she is our light."
Very soon that light will be shining brightly in Times Square.
Check out Blake's Facebook for more information.