Carl Cummings featured in video

Tioga County Special Olympian Carl Cummings will have his photograph displayed at Times Square in New York City as part of a video for National Down Syndrome Month.

Carl Cummings of Mansfield will appear in the bright lights of Broadway on Saturday, Sept. 12, as part of the National Down Syndrome Society’s annual Times Square Video presentation.

Carl, who turns 28 Aug. 22, is the son of Donna and Dave Cummings. His mother submitted the photograph because she felt it typified her son. It will be one of 500 photographs included in the video.

“The thing that I really think is cool about this is that, as you saw from the photo, it is from the Tioga County track and field event and he’s wearing a Tioga County Special Olympics shirt and there’s a Special Olympics banner in the background,” she said. “Little, old Tioga County is going to be displayed in New York City.”

She submitted her son’s photo while working from home during the COVID-19 shutdown. After looking at all the photos, she choose the one here.

“I thought what is most meaningful to him beside family, and it is track and field. He loves it,” said Cummings. “He has that goofy smile on his face and I thought, ‘Perfect.’”

The track and field event is a big and important day in Carl’s life, said his mother. He has competed in walking and running events, softball throws, but he also loves the associated activities. He goes over to the Olympic Village where he tries to dunk the staff from Partners In Progress, his employer, in the dunk tank. Carl also visits the concession stand, where his parents work, and gets hot dogs, his favorite food.

“I really thought that is Carl. Carl never cares about winning. Carl is just thrilled to be there,” said his mother.

The featured photographs in the video highlight children, teens and adults with Down syndrome, reminding the world in a very big way about the contributions and milestones of people with Down syndrome. These collective images promote the value, acceptance and inclusion of people with Down syndrome.

“This video is a terrific way to showcase some of the incredible individuals with Down syndrome living in our communities across the country,” says NDSS President and CEO Kandi Pickard. “It is something the community looks forward to every year.”

Although he may not completely understand, Carl was excited to learn he will appear on the video in Times Square.

“He loves New York City. We have gone in to see shows and we have cousins who live in the city,” Cummings said. “I’m hoping they will go up to Times Square for me. That’s kind of the sad part. If it was any other year, we’d be there to see it.”

Typically, the NDSS holds a big party in Central Park after the video first airs. Because of the coronavirus, that will not take place this year.

The Times Square Video presentation kicks off Down Syndrome Awareness Month in October. The video presentation will be followed by the New York City Buddy Walk, which will take place virtually due to COVID-19. For information about the NDSS Buddy Walk Program, visit www.buddywalk.org or call 800-221-4602.