Columbia, S.C.—Buddy Walk, the annual celebration of people with Down syndrome, was hosted by Family Connection of SC in Columbia, Spartanburg, and Anderson during the month of October. Overall, the three separate Buddy Walks had more than 1,700 people in attendance and raised more than $68,000 to fund Down syndrome research nationally, and to support local programs for South Carolina families through Family Connection.
Columbia Buddy Walk had more than 1,050 people in attendance and received over $40,000 in donations.
Spartanburg Buddy Walk had 300 people in attendance and received more than $18,000 in donations.
Anderson Buddy Walk had 350 people in attendance and received more than $10,000 in donations.
“At Buddy Walk, I saw the community embrace children and adults with Down syndrome. It was just one big day of celebration and fun,” said Vanessa Clark, Community Impact Coordinator for Family Connection.
“Every person who participates in the walk is a goodwill ambassador for those with Down syndrome,” said Phyllis Wooten, a Buddy Walk participant whose son, Chase, has Down syndrome. “I think most of the time, when a diagnosis of Down syndrome is given, fear takes over because the focus is on negative information. Every person taking part in Buddy Walk has a positive story to tell, and hopefully they got a chance to share it with someone who needed to hear it.”
According to buddywalk.org, one in every 691 babies is born with Down syndrome, making it the most commonly occurring chromosomal condition. In the United States alone, there are more than 400,000 people with Down syndrome.
The National Down Syndrome Society established the Buddy Walk to promote acceptance and inclusion of people with Down syndrome and to celebrate National Down Syndrome Awareness Month in October.
Family Connection is a statewide, nonprofit organization that helps thousands of children in South Carolina reach their potential by providing parent-to-parent connections, linking families to community resources and sponsoring educational and support programs. For more information about Family Connection, visit www.familyconnectionSC.org or call 1-800-578-8750.