Buddy Walk aimed at enhancing lives of people living with Down syndrome

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – The Down Syndrome Association of Northeast Indiana makes it their mission to enhance the lives of people living with Down syndrome.

They achieve this by acting as advocates, providing information and support to families, and promoting acceptance. For the past 19 years DSANI has accomplished these goals, in part by hosting an Annual Buddy Walk.

Shelley Yoder joined First News to tell more about DSANI and this year’s event.

DSANI represents people with Down syndrome and their families in the eleven counties surrounding Fort Wayne, Indiana. These counties are Allen, Lagrange, Steuben, Noble, Dekalb, Whitley, Wabash, Huntington, Wells, Kosciusko and Adams. They provide support and resources to more than 150 member families and professionals and maintain a database more than 1,000 supporters.

Once you have set up your team fundraising page, you will be able to send your team’s link to your friends and family. After setting up your team’s page, you will need to register you and your family for the Buddy Walk as well. You will be able to register up to 6 people on one “ticket” this year too. Contact the DSANI office with questions.

The Buddy Walk is a walk in which anyone can participate without special training. The route is approximately 1.2 miles along downtown Fort Wayne streets around Parkview Field.

September 9th 2017 has actually been declared DSANI Buddy Walk Day in Fort Wayne. This acceptance and advocacy walk is also an inspirational and educational event that celebrates the many abilities and accomplishments of people with Down syndrome.

The DSANI Buddy Walk is the second largest Buddy Walk in Indiana. The Buddy Walk is a trademarked program that was created by the National Down Syndrome Society in 1995 to assist local parent groups in their advocacy efforts. With more than 275 walks taking place in the city and around the country and abroad, organizers are able to speak with a unified and stronger voice in creating awareness and acceptance of Down syndrome.

The 2017 Buddy Walk fundraising goal is $90,000 which will help us enhance the lives of people living with Down syndrome, advocate on their behalf, provide information and support to families and professionals and promote acceptance and inclusion. Because DSANI receives no local, federal or state funding, the success of our organization is largely dependent on the success of the Buddy Walk.

The 19th Annual Buddy Walk is September 9th.