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Family & Friends Down Syndrome Association hosts 16th annual Buddy Walk of Buffalo Niagara

by jmaloni
Mon, Aug 27th 2012 07:00 am

Event benefits people with Down syndrome

The Family & Friends Down Syndrome Association Niagara Inc. announces the 16th annual Buddy Walk of Buffalo Niagara, a benefit for people with Down syndrome, will be held Saturday, Sept. 8.

From the association:

Butterflies and Buddy Walk: What they have in common

So just what might butterflies and buddy walkers have in common? Determination, perseverance, and a journey!

Each fall, Monarch butterflies in Maine begin an unbelievable journey to a hilltop in Mexico. How do they do it? They focus on the goal, not the difficulties. Each day, they take their bearings and set off, lead by natural instinct and desire. They accept what comes: some winds blow them off course, others speed them along. They keep flying until one day they arrive!

Please join our children and families who celebrate their personal journey in our Buddy Walk of Buffalo Niagara. The life course of one child just might depend on your advocacy and involvement. This year, more than 285,000 Americans across the country are expected to "Join The Journey" and walk in support of Down syndrome awareness.

On Sept. 8, The Family & Friends Down Syndrome Association of Niagara Inc. joins in this national campaign and sponsors the 16th annual Buddy Walk of Buffalo Niagara (as part of the 55th Niagara County Peach Festival). The Family & Friends Down Syndrome Association will also participate in the Peach Festival parade. Families of children born with Down syndrome and self-advocates will walk to celebrate their lives and support the betterment of others.

When families learn their child is born with Down syndrome, they may ponder what their child's life will be like. No one can determine that outcome with any certainty. Their journey begins by planning the best possible future for their child with hope, determination and perseverance that one day that child will become the healthiest, happiest and successful adult, living a life of independence, meaning and purpose. Only thing is for certain: One will feel "butterflies" along the way!

The journey is often challenging, at best, for many families to learn how to navigate the health and education systems, let alone the dwindling availability of adult support and service delivery options as parents and primary caregivers begin to age themselves. Although the good news is the average age span of an adult living with Down syndrome today now is 60 years, the real challenge lies in the reality that support systems are rapidly narrowing. It is because of this we must continue to raise positive awareness that focuses on the abilities of individuals with Down syndrome, and to advocate for their inclusion in all aspects of health, education and employment opportunities that will promote their independence as adults.

This is a reality for many adults living with Down syndrome and is best documented by referring to professional sources such as The National Down Syndrome Society at www.ndss.org or The National Down Syndrome Congress at www.ndsc.org. Additionally, joining our journey in the Buddy Walk of Buffalo Niagara is certainly one place to start. Families will meet new families, friendships will form, and support systems will grow.

For more information on how to get involved or become a participant, or to register for the Buddy Walk of Buffalo Niagara, visit www.dsaniagara.org or call 716-870-4904.

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