By CAROLINE BRENNAN
Anna López Morton, 24 years old, is an aspiring young entrepreneur currently creating and selling her especially designed, Mexican-themed T-shirts on her Instagram page, with 40 percent of the proceeds going to help children with Down syndrome in Mexico City through the Fundación Mosáico Down (FMD).
López Morton’s colorful T-shirts feature maps of Mexico, piñatas, sombreros and chili peppers, and have been worn by celebrities and regular folk alike.
Her work with the FMD is personally motivated, since Morton herself has an extra chromosome, meaning she was born with Down syndrome.
Down’s syndrome, also known as trisomy 21, is a genetic disorder caused by the presence of all or part of a third copy of chromosome 21.
It is usually associated with stunted or delayed physical development, mild to moderate intellectual disabilities and characteristic facial features.
The condition, which occurs most often in cases of mothers who give birth after age 35, is seen in about one in every 691 births in Mexico, compared to one in every 1,000 births worldwide.
The youngest child in her family, López Morton succeeded in her primary and elementary education, but on graduation from high school, found that most professional doors were closed to her.
Her mother, Patricia, encouraged her to create something for herself in a society that did not offer many work opportunities to young adults with Down syndrome.
Thus was born López Morton’s company, Chu, in 2016, taking on her childhood nickname and providing revenues for both the mother-daughter team and the Fundación Mosaico Down, which caters to children and adolescents with Down syndrome, teaching them skills they can apply in later life.
Over the past five years, Chu has helped to raise much-needed awareness in Mexico about the condition by encouraging social inclusion for Down syndrome victims.
The site sells only two products, the T-shirts and small, pull-out sofas for toddlers.
But it has opened the door for financial independence and social acceptance for López Morton, and, hopefully, for other Mexicans with Down syndrome, promising a more inclusive society as a whole.
And that, López Morton said, is what the site is all about.