31 for 21: B is for Buddy Walk

1995

  • The Buddy Walk® program was established in 1995 by the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) to promote acceptance and inclusion of people with Down syndrome and to celebrate Down Syndrome Awareness Month in October. The name Buddy Walk® promotes inclusion between friends of every ability.
  • 17 events took place across the country during the inaugural year of the Buddy Walk®.

1999

  • NDSS introduced the Times Square Video to bring attention to the Buddy Walk® program and raise awareness of individuals with Down syndrome in a public setting.

2001

  • NDSS introduced a new Buddy Walk® logo‚ the now familiar blue and yellow graphic of a family holding hands.
  • Over 100 Buddy Walk® events took place.

2002

  • Actor John C. McGinley joined NDSS as National Buddy Walk® Spokesman.
  • The Buddy Walk® site launched.

2003

  • More than 190 Buddy Walk® events took place in 49 states and 5 countries with over 180,000 participants raising more than $2.5 million.

2004

  • More than 210 Buddy Walk® events took place with over 200,000 participants raising more than $4.5 million.

2005

  • NDSS celebrated 10 years of the Buddy Walk®! From 1995 – 2005 over 1,500,000 people participated in Buddy Walks worldwide.
  • More than 250 Buddy Walk® events took place with over 200,000 participants raising more than $5.5 million.

2008

  • The Buddy Walk® public service announcement, starring TV Host Nancy O’Dell, TV Host Meredith Vieira, Actor John C. McGinley, Actor and NDSS Goodwill Ambassador Chris Burke, and Actress Andrea Friedman, was played nationwide at all Regal Cinemas before every movie for two weeks to celebrate Down Syndrome Awareness Month and the National Buddy Walk® program.
  • More than 250 Buddy Walk® events took place with over 250,000 participants raising more than $10.5 million.

2009

  • The first Buddy Walk® held on a military base in a combat zone took place at Camp Phoenix in Kabul, Afghanistan.

2011

  • More than 250 Buddy Walk® events took place with over 285,000 participants raising more than $11 million.
  • The first Buddy Walk® in Japan was held at Kadena Air Force Base in Okinawa

2012

  • More than 250 Buddy Walk® events took place with over 295,000 participants raising more than $11.75 million.
  • The Buddy Walk® has been ranked in the top 30 fundraising events nationwide for: money raised, number of participants and best series event since 2008 according to Run Walk Ride Fundraising Council Survey results.

2013

  • The Buddy Walk® had a record breaking year with more than 305,000 participants raising $12.1 million dollars in more than 250 events across the country and around the world.
  • Our first international  Buddy Walk® in Turkey took place in Istanbul, along with Walks in Tokyo, Japan; Auckland, New Zealand; Freeport, Bahamas; Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago as well as across Canada.

2014

  • The Buddy Walk® had another record breaking year with more than 315,000 participants raising nearly $13 million dollars in more than 250 events across the country and around the world.

2015

  • Our team, Hannah’s Heart, participated for the first time and raised $1150.

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Timelines taken from the NDSS website

Our Weekend: Flag Football, Buddy Walk, and a Sick Baby

We had beautiful weather this weekend, even though there was a hint of Fall in the air. It was the first and last time this year that I got a little bit of a sunburn!

Friday after work, Pete met up with me and my coworkers for a game of flag football. I chilled on the sidelines with Hannah and Gamy and two girls from another department. It was fun to relax and talk to people I don’t interact with much during the week. Pete had a blast playing and was sore for two days. Hopefully they’ll play again before it gets too cold to be a spectator.

Saturday was our first Buddy Walk experience! We carpooled with Pete’s mom and met up my parents, my friends Meghan, Steph and JP, and their son Lucas. As soon as we arrived I realized how underprepared we were. Teams were setting up their tents, grills, tables of food and we had blankets and chips & dip. It was amazing to see how large some of the teams were and how many supporters there are in a smaller state like Connecticut. The top team raised over $10,000 for the CDSC and our little team managed to raise $1150!

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Hannah fell asleep during the actual walk and continued to nap through lunch time. We ended up sitting on the far end of the field, away from everyone else, because we had no chairs and the picnic area provided some much needed shade. After my parents and our friends left, Pete, Grandma, Hannah, and I went for another walk to enjoy the sunshine, then did a lap around the field to check out the bounce houses.

Unfortunately the Buddy Walk wasn’t all I wanted it to be. I had a bad morning and was in a really crappy mood by the time we arrived. I already have a hard enough time meeting new people and couldn’t work up the strength to introduce myself while I was fighting my own negativity. I wanted the day to be about Hannah and meeting members of the community but instead I was focused on outside distractions.

On Sunday Pete went fishing and I stayed home with the sick Banana. After spending a week trying to fight off her first cold, Hannah finally surrendered and has been sick since Wednesday. Last week was the worst, with congestion that was affecting her ability to drink a bottle, a temperature just under 100*, and a couple restless nights. I’ve noticed a big difference since we put a humidifier in her room but the new cough she has makes her sound worse. I hope I’m not under reacting to Hannah’s cold but she seems to be handling it just fine. She still wakes up with a smile, still wants to play and roll around, and still sings to me after school. She’s fighting it like the little warrior that I know she is.

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