Allie's - and our- 3rd Buddy Walk was this month and we had so much fun celebrating Allie and Down syndrome in general. My Mom - Allie's Granny - and Bill - Allie's PawPaw came to town to participate in the walk and we had such a wonderful time watching them with Allie over the course of several days.
Allie and Nathan
As many of you know, The Buddy Walk was introduced several years ago and they are held all over the world. The goal is primarily to raise awareness, acceptance and to provide advocacy for people with Down syndrome. We are not looking for a cure - there is no cure. Down syndrome occurs at conception and is all part of God's plan (in my opinion). Some people feel a "cure" is to terminate a pregnancy. (Yes, GASP!!). Some doctor's still today encourage this option as they have no idea how capable individuals with Down syndrome can be. (yes, another GASP).
Allie's Buddy Jack
So, the Buddy Walk is vital to get the word out - to introduce ourselves and prove to everyone that people with DS are not disadvantaged. They are as different as everyone else is different from each other. We all have disabilities - things we aren't so good at and things we are good at. So do they. People with DS may learn using different methods - or perhaps not. Which, is not much different than any one else. They have just as many feelings and emotions as people without DS and they have goals and dreams, too. So, again, the Buddy Walk raises awareness and acceptance and hopefully opens doors to allow all individuals to obtain the jobs they want, go to the schools they want, live life as they want. Who wouldn't want this, right? So, to all those doctor's out there and individuals who clearly still "don't have a clue". I say ... get one!
Granny, Mommy, Allie
Whew... not sure where that came from, but I'm off my soap box and back onto my nice cushy chair. I guess I just felt that needed to be said, so I'll leave it. But, back to our day... the weather was perfect - okay, a tad hot for Alabama in mid-October as I believe we were in the mid-80's. But, we had the largest turn out ever for our Buddy Walk. Allie's Allies - our team - got even more organized this year and had more than just signs. We had a table and soft drinks and snacks and - compliments of Granny - we had a home-made Dora Cake! Dora is a favorite of Allie's and we enjoyed having such a celebrating Dora with us. The cake was also delicious and gave us all a much needed snack after our walk.
Jenny, Melissa and Hannah
- always there for us
In fact, our walking team consisted of about 30 individuals and Allie WALKED with us. Okay, she still held our hands, but she walked a good bit of it. It is so exciting to see the changes in her and they seem to happen almost daily now. She is really becoming a little girl and no longer a baby (sniff sniff). Additionally, we had donations from over 80 people!! We raised approximately $2,900! As a group, the PADs organization (Parent Advocates for Down Syndrome) raised over $104,000 and money is still coming in! All money raised stays here in Birmingham to help the Parent Support group (PADS) and to help fund the Adult Down Syndrome Clinic here at UAB (Birmingham).
Allie's friend, Madison
It was such an exciting fund raiser and it was so rewarding getting donations from all over the country - from family, friends, friends from way back when, friends of friends, and people we don't really even know. So many people love Allie and saw the importance of donating. We thank you so much for that! We truly are blessed to have so many loving people in our lives.
Neighbors make the best friends!
Kimberly and Kayley with Allie & I
Leah, Sheila, Allie and I.
Our Buddy Walk is always held in October and we always welcome you to come join us and walk with us. Or... if you can't come to Birmingham, please attend a Buddy Walk in your town, you will have a wonderful time with some wonderful people!
Thank you to everyone that supported our team and walked with us and thought about us and wished us well. We really appreciate all the help you do to get the word out about Down syndrome.