Canadian Down Syndrome Society shares ‘care instructions’ for siblings

Who: The Canadian Down Syndrome Society, with FCB for strategy and creative; Animals for production (directed by Yael Staav); 456 Studios for post-production; OSO Audio for sound; Glossy for PR; and Initiative and Kinesseo for media.

What: “Care Instructions,” CDSS’s annual awareness and fundraising campaign, timed for Canadian Down Syndrome Week (Oct. 22 to 28).

When & Where: The campaign just launched, and includes a series of videos hosted at the CDSS website and pushed out through social channels. There is also digital display, OOH, and email / direct mail.

Why: Each year, CDSS and FCB find new and unique ways to share stories about Canadians living with Down syndrome, their families, the ways it supports them, and how people can contribute.

This year, the focus is on the siblings of those living with Down syndrome. As life expectancy improves, a growing number of people with Down syndrome will outlive the parents who are responsible for caregiving. In those cases, it’s likely the responsibility will pass to the siblings.

“We wanted to capture the reality that families are now facing,” said Laura LaChance, executive director of the Canadian Down Syndrome Society, in a release. “The reality of a longer life means more siblings may need to fill the shoes of their parents as primary caregivers, and don’t feel properly equipped with the support and resources they need.”

How: The campaign includes videos of parents sharing their own advice to the siblings who will be asked to care for their brother or sister once their parents are gone.

Each is presented like a self-recorded video letter, with a parent talking directly to the camera to share their own “care instructions”—explaining what they uniquely understand about their child with Down syndrome, as well as some heartfelt words of encouragement for after they are gone.

On screen copy explains that people with Down syndrome are outliving their parents. “These are the instructions for the people who will take over.”

The campaign is launching with two videos, but CDSS and FCB are looking for other families to co-produce their own videos.

And we quote: “No one appreciates more what lies ahead for sibling caregivers than their parents… To help our audience fully understand the weight of their responsibilities and drive donations, we needed to hear the raw and vulnerable truth directly from the source.”— Andrew MacPhee, executive creative director, FCB Toronto

David Brown