Everyone Needs A Buddy: Annual Walk Raises More Than Funds

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Buddy Walk will be held October 9 at Wolf Pen Creek Amphitheater and includes a day of family entertainment and activities. When the crowds take off walking on October 9, it will be the eighth year hundreds of participants have gathered for Buddy Walk, a fundraiser hosted by the Down Syndrome Association of Brazos Valley. Though proceeds from Buddy Walk account for 90 percent of the nonprofit’s budget, the event also serves to increase awareness and acceptance of those with Down syndrome.

“Buddy Walks were actually started as a way to increase awareness of Down syndrome and to promote inclusion and acceptance of people with Down syndrome,” says Sondra White, secretary of the Down Syndrome Association of Brazos Valley, “and then they grew from there. The actual one-mile walk is ceremonial. It’s the promotion and fundraising that bring change.”

Everyone is invited to participate in Buddy Walk, which will take place at the Wolf Pen Creek Amphitheater. The festivities will kick off at 11:30 a.m. with kid-friendly moon bounces, music, food and a wide variety of entertainment.

Buddy Walk will be held October 9 at Wolf Pen Creek Amphitheater and includes a day of family entertainment and activities. When the crowds take off walking on October 9, it will be the eighth year hundreds of participants have gathered for Buddy Walk, a fundraiser hosted by the Down Syndrome Association of Brazos Valley. Though proceeds from Buddy Walk account for 90 percent of the nonprofit’s budget, the event also serves to increase awareness and acceptance of those with Down syndrome.

“Buddy Walks were actually started as a way to increase awareness of Down syndrome and to promote inclusion and acceptance of people with Down syndrome,” says Sondra White, secretary of the Down Syndrome Association of Brazos Valley, “and then they grew from there. The actual one-mile walk is ceremonial. It’s the promotion and fundraising that bring change.”

Everyone is invited to participate in Buddy Walk, which will take place at the Wolf Pen Creek Amphitheater. The festivities will kick off at 11:30 a.m. with kid-friendly moon bounces, music, food and a wide variety of entertainment. The opening ceremonies will commence at noon followed by Blinn Physical Therapy students leading participants in pre-walk stretches at 12:15 p.m. KBTX Chief Meteorologist Bob French, who is master of ceremonies for Buddy Walk, will start the one-mile walk at 12:30 p.m. Walkers slowly circle the park to demonstrate their support for those with Down syndrome.

Local favorite Granger Smith will be performing in concert for the fourth year in a row from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. Other post-walk entertainment will include a clown with balloons, face painting, cake walk, and Raffle prizes include a cruise, and raffle tickets are $15 each or $60 for five.

IF YOU GO

Buddy Walk registration fees are $15 for an individual or $55 for a family of four (plus $5 for each additional family member). Participants receive a Buddy Walk T-shirt, a barbecue lunch provided by Grey Smoke Cookers with fixings by Kroger. All drinks are supplied by Bryan Coca-Cola. Those attending are advised to bring folding chairs and blankets for picnic-style eating.

Through the years, many people form teams with friends, colleagues or family members, often in support of a specific person with Down syndrome. Teams are encouraged to wear matching shirts and bandanas or to display signs and banners to show their unity. A trophy will be awarded to the collegiate team with the most members.

Funds raised during Buddy Walk support supplementary reading and math programs, a “Handwriting Without Tears” class, a cooking school summer camp stipends and other activities designed for people with Down syndrome.

The first Buddy Walks took place in 1995 and the event is now celebrated worldwide. Though only 17 walks took place the first year, it has since increased to almost 300 walks last year with around 285,000 participants. The Buddy Walk of Brazos Valley hosted more than 1,300 participants last year. – by Caroline Ward

Walk the Walk

Registration is $15, but the experience is priceless. Arrive at 11:30 a.m. at Wolf Pen Creek Park on October 9.

Volunteer

If you would like to volunteer to assist with running Buddy Walk, contact Christy Knight at dsabv@yahoo.com or 979-778-7010.

Donate

If you are unable to attend, the Down Syndrome Association of Brazos Valley welcomes any and all donations.

Be a Sponsor

From $250 to $10,000, sponsorships are available to businesses and individuals.

Find Out More

Visit buddywalk.org or downsyndromeofbcs.com/buddywalk for more information.