Two different events will take place next Saturday, Oct. 30, to support families affected by Down syndrome.
At 9:30am, Sharing Down Syndrome in Arizona will host the 11th Annual Buddy Walk in conjunction with National Down Syndrome Awareness Month in October.
At 12:30pm, members and friends of Down Syndrome Network (DSNetwork) Arizona will “Step Up for Down Syndrome” as they walk with the ASU Homecoming Parade.
John Robert Marcell, whose family and friends are walking for J.R.'s Dream Team in this year's Buddy Walk.
More than 2,500 people from around Arizona are expected to participate in this event, which will take place at the SRP Pera Club Park located at 1 E. Continental Dr. in Tempe. Onsite registration opens at 7:30am, with the walk and other family activities starting at 9 and continuing through 11:30.
Buddy Walk participants will enjoy a wide range of family-friendly activities, including a one-mile stroller-friendly walk, a live DJ providing music, smoothies, game booths, moon bounces, cotton candy, ice cream, snow cones and face painting.
New this year, Sharing Down Syndrome AZ will announce the winner of the Man or Women of the Year Award, for an outstanding citizen with Down syndrome. They will also announce the Outstanding Community Member of the Year. Learn more at sharingds.org.
Stepping Up for Down Syndrome 2009.
Step Up for Down Syndrome
“We are walking to give a voice to the individuals and families impacted by Down syndrome,” says Tara Cash, acting director for DSNetwork. “We walk for Early Intervention, which provide therapies that give our children the best possible life. We walk for our Parents and Schools in Partnership, which helps educators and parents work together to provide the latest tools and best education. We also walk for our Young Adult group, who are teens transitioning out of high school, who really want jobs and dates, so we provide vocational training and social activities. And we walk to let people see the unbridled love that is available if you become friends with someone with Down syndrome.”
In addition to walking during the homecoming parade, DSNetwork will participate in ASU’s Homecoming Block Party, which features face painting, games, balloons, costume contests, and more. After the walk, a lunch will be held in the Down Syndrome Network tent, where the Club ASU passport program will provide trick-or-treating and the chance to sign up for the DSNetwork mailing list and connect on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
“We are a volunteer staff with minimal resources and we have found the electronic media to be the least expensive and most powerful marketing avenue for DSNetwork,” Cash says. “It seems that no matter what someone is struggling with, someone else has found a way to work through the problem. We can touch the lives of many by utilizing all of the electronic resources such as Facebook and Twitter.”
Also at the event, the “A Day in the Life” program will allow people to experience Down syndrome in a fun and enlightening way.
“We have presented it to more than 500 children, and the children have a new respect and empathy for others with special needs,” Cash says. “They also have the chance to Step Up for Down syndrome and we train them to be philanthropists and advocates.”
Presenters teach groups of educators or students about Down syndrome and they get to experience what it must be like by using socks to simulate hypotonia (low muscle tone) and then walking through the activities of a typical day.
Registration begins at 8am at the Tempe campus of Arizona State University. Participation is free but donations are welcome. For more information visit firstgiving.com/dsn.networkaz.