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France

French woman with Down’s syndrome fulfills dream of presenting weather

© FRANCE 2 screen grab | Mélanie Ségard presents the weekend weather forecast on France 2 television on March 14, 2017.

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2017-03-15

A young French woman with Down’s syndrome fulfilled a lifelong dream on Tuesday after presenting the weather forecast on national television.

Mélanie Ségard, 21, provided a summary of the weekend weather on France 2, drawing an audience of 5.3 million viewers, according to the channel.

Ségard attracted widespread attention after pledging she would pursue her ambition of presenting the weather if she got 100,000 likes on her Facebook page, “Mélanie can do it”.

The page, which was set up by the advocacy group UNAPEI ahead of World Down’s Syndrome Day on March 21, garnered 200,000 likes in 10 days.

France 2 invited Ségard to present its weather forecast after hearing of the buzz.

Before her broadcast, the channel showed Ségard rehearsing her lines and going through makeup. She was accompanied on camera by France 2’s regular weather forecaster, Anaïs Baydemir, who praised her flawless delivery.

Later, Ségard expressed her excitement at having realised her dream.

"That's it, I've done it, I'm finally a weather girl," she tweeted. "I am different, but I can do lots of things."

Down's syndrome, also known as trisomy 21, is the most common genetic form of intellectual disability. It is caused by the presence of an extra, or third, copy of chromosome number 21.

Humans normally have 23 pairs of chromosomes, which together contain up to 25,000 protein-coding genes.

Around one in 1,000 people have Down's, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). In France, there are an estimated 65,000.

Ségard's achievement comes on the heels of a 19-year-old Down's woman, Laura Hayoun, who presented the headlines on news channel BFMTV in 2013.

Last month, Madeline Stuart, a 20-year-old Australian model with Down's, took part in a fashion show in New York and debuted her own label, called "21 Reasons Why".

(FRANCE 24 with AP, AFP)

Date created : 2017-03-15

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