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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Buddy Walk raises awareness, support for people with Down syndrome

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Photo by Photo by Edith Anthony

The team “Dillon’s Dudes” led the Buddy Walk at Millican Reserve on Sunday morning.

Friends and family members walked, ran and relaxed together at Millican Reserve Sunday morning during Brazos Valley’s 15th annual Buddy Walk.
A national event raising awareness for individuals with Down syndrome, Buddy Walk brings together teams of friends and family to promote understanding and inclusion. This year’s local event at Millican Reserve coincided with Down Syndrome Awareness month, celebrated each October. Fifty-three teams raised funds for the Down Syndrome Association of the Brazos Valley to host classes and social events throughout the year.
This is the second year Millican Reserve hosted the event and included a 5K race in the festivities, according to Kelley Jordan, president of the Down Syndrome Association of the Brazos Valley and co-chair of Buddy Walk.
“Every year our buddy walk continues to grow, so we add games and activities for any family to come out there and enjoy,” Jordan said. “It’s also a very special day in our community of individuals with Down syndrome because they get to show off their ring of support.”
One of the main goals of Down syndrome awareness month is to negate the misinformation people often have about Down syndrome. Jordan said this includes the misconceptions that Down syndrome can be caught or that individuals with Down syndrome will not walk or talk.
“You have Down syndrome from the moment you are conceived because its an extra copy of your 21st chromosome,” Jordan said. “A typical person has 46 chromosomes. Our individuals with Down syndrome have 47.”
Jordan said many challenges individuals with Down syndrome faced in the past are fading away due to advances in speech and physical therapy.
“They’re all wonderful people who have all the emotions and really enjoy life,” Jordan said. “My challenge for someone during Down syndrome awareness month [is to] go find someone with Down syndrome and introduce yourself and get to know them.”
Kathy Thomkins attended Buddy Walk for the first time this year to support her daughter along with her family, friends and church group. Thomas said she recently joined the association and has since attended socials and therapy with her daughter.
“The Down Syndrome Association partnered up with [St. Joseph’s] outpatient therapy,” Thomas said. “We got to do some physical therapy and [occupational] therapy bootcamps, so that was a lot of fun.”
Down Syndrome Association member Jason Foley became involved when he found out his son would be born with Down syndrome.
“It’s an organization, but I think of it more as a community,” Foley said. “It’s a chance for us to share stories, share war stories and get an idea what the future holds.”
To learn more about the Down Syndrome Association of Brazos Valley, visit dsabv.org.

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  • Children wait to have their faces painted at the Buddy Walk on Saturday, Oct. 6.

    Photo by Photo by Edith Anthony

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