Buddy Walk Raises Funds, Awareness

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Buddy Walk Raises Funds, Awareness

Mother carries sleeping daughter with Down syndrome during walk.

Mother carries sleeping daughter with Down syndrome during walk.

Anna Chuo

Mother carries sleeping daughter with Down syndrome during walk.

Anna Chuo

Anna Chuo

Mother carries sleeping daughter with Down syndrome during walk.

By Anna Chuo, Morale Officer

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The Down Syndrome Association of Central Texas hosted its 17th annual Buddy Walk on Sunday, Oct. 23, at the Reunion Ranch in Georgetown. The purpose of the walk is to raise funds for the DSACT and to raise awareness of the organization and Down syndrome. The event had over 3,000 attendees and volunteers, making it the largest event for the DSACT.

“I have a sister who is 28 years old,” member of the Board of Directors at DSACT Mr. Marshall Rudy said. “My family has been involved since she was an infant. I started volunteering when I moved back to Austin in 2011. I love seeing all the different teams that get decorated and make their own shirts and have special floats when they are lining up for the parade.”

A woman and girl with Down syndrome dance to the music after the walk.

Photo by Anna Chuo
A woman and girl with Down syndrome dance to the music after the walk.

Many families created teams centered around their loved one with Down syndrome, such as Super Santi or Kenzie’s Krew. Some had specially designed t-shirts and signs, but all the teams came together for a walk around the ranch with cheerleaders from different high schools cheering on the side lines. Other activities included face-painting, horses, mini-golf, and a zipline. Some special visitors included a SWAT car, fire truck, and helicopter, and the kids there were able to go inside of them.

The DSACT is a nonprofit organization that provides programs, resources, and educates people with Down syndrome and their families. The programs are divided by age. They start from ages 0 to 5, 6 to 12, and 13 and older. All of these programs are geared towards kids with Down syndrome, but their siblings are also welcome to attend. Their most popular programs are the Performing Arts Program, Kayak Camp, and a variety of fitness programs. They also provide social groups for families and Down syndrome kids to talk and play with each other. These groups are similar, 0 to 2, 0 to 5, 6 to 12, 13 to 20, 18 and older, and they also have a group called “Comite Latino.”

Two girls, one with Down syndrome, walk along side one another during the Buddy Walk.

Photo by Anna Chuo
Two girls, one with Down syndrome, walk along side one another during the Buddy Walk.

“[The event] is very important for two reasons,” Mr. Eudy said. “One, it is our biggest fundraiser for the year so this where we get at least half of all our funding for the things that we do throughout the year. It’s also the only event we have every year where we have over 3,000 people that all come together so it’s really great for people to see each other and to see how many people are involved with this organization.”

In 2015, the Buddy Walk had just as many people attending and they raised over $170,000. Hopefully this year was just as successful. If you want to learn more about the DSACT and the Buddy Walk, you can find their website here.