Mark your calendars for the October 7 Buddy Walk Presented by the Down Syndrome Awareness Group of East Tennessee
Lace up your walking shoes, grab a buddy, and join the Down Syndrome Awareness Group of East Tennessee on Sunday, October 7 for the 16th annual Knoxville Buddy Walk to promote the acceptance of all people with Down syndrome.
This year’s event will again be held at Knoxville’s World’s Fair Park near downtown Knoxville. The 2012 Buddy Walk also will feature many popular activities for families this year, including inflatable fun for kids, entertainment from the Sunshine Ambassadors, a variety of family activities and many food options.
Local children and adults with Down syndrome, their families and designated “buddies,” and many other local supporters will participate in the Buddy Walk, which begins at World’s Fair Park on October 7 at 1 p.m. and continues throughout the afternoon until around 4 p.m. The walk will wind its way through World’s Fair Park (rain or shine!) and conclude with various entertainment, exhibits, food, a silent auction, prizes and more for participants to enjoy at the walk’s conclusion.
Participants will collect pledges from friends, relatives, neighbors and other sponsors to benefit DSAG and its programs. Last year’s event raised more than $55,000 for DSAG and research efforts by the National Down Syndrome Society, and organizers’ goal for this year’s event is $75,000. DSAG is a parent-initiated non-profit organization developed to provide information and support to over 400 families of children with Down syndrome in an 18-country area throughout East Tennessee.
The Knoxville Buddy Walk is organized by the Down Syndrome Awareness Group of East Tennessee (DSAG) and coordinated in conjunction with the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) to raise awareness of National Down Syndrome Awareness Month in October. The national Buddy Walk program has involved thousands of walkers in dozens of locations throughout the U.S. for the past ten years. Nationally, this is the 18th year for the Buddy Walk, and state; local government officials throughout the country continue to show their support by pledging their participation in the NDSS national Buddy Walk program and by signing proclamations that have a positive impact on individuals with Down syndrome.
Sponsors for this year’s Buddy Walk are Enrichment Federal Credit Union, Knology, Knoxville Pediatric Cardiology, East Tennessee Children’s Hospital, Shoney’s, TVA, WBIR-TV 10 and WIMZ-FM radio.
“Our intent is a simple one,” said Kelly Brickey, Coordinator of the Buddy Walk for the Down Syndrome Awareness Group of East Tennessee. “Through our Buddy Walk in Knoxville, we hope to create increased awareness within our community about this chromosomal birth defect and to encourage our local businesses and organizations to include individuals with Down syndrome in community activities, education and employment. And the other intent of the Buddy Walk is just to have fun!”
Down syndrome is a chromosomal abnormality affecting more than 400,000 people in the United States. People with Down syndrome possess a wide degree of abilities and are active participants in educational, occupational, social and recreational activities in the community. Additional information about Down syndrome, and free referrals to local and national resources, are available through the National Down Syndrome Society at 1-800-221-4602.
For more information about participating in Knoxville’s Buddy Walk in Knoxville’s World’s Fair Park on Sunday, October 7, call the Down Syndrome Awareness Group at (865) 202-8867 or visit www.dsagtn.org.