I feel so behind the ball this year regarding the Buddy walk. This is the first year I haven't done my usual campaigning or fundraising for the Buddy Walk and I am feeling a bit guilty. I set up a team page awhile ago, but just got around to emailing invites today. I didn't serve on the committee this year and do not plan on making Strollin' Snacks either. I love the Buddy Walk, the day together with families that know what our life is like. The support from our friends and family. Seeing all of those beautiful faces.
I just had to cut myself some slack as I adjust to having kids in two different schools and a new baby.
Doug mentioned on Sept 11th that it was a special anniversary for us. I said, "Why, you mean because of 9-11?" He said, "No, it's the anniversary of the first Buddy Walk we went to. The one in Denver."
That's right, it was! Sean had just turned one and we had never been to a Down Syndrome support group or any other event. I read about the Buddy Walk (we were living in Goodland KS at the time) and asked Doug if we could go. We invited Doug's parents to come and make a weekend of it, stopping at the zoo the day before. The Denver BW was HUGE, I think the attendance was 7000!
It was a surreal experience. We had never seen or met anyone with Ds before that day, so to see so many people gather in honor of Down syndrome was overwhelming. I couldn't help starring at everyone, wondering how their child was doing health-wise. I watched the older children to see what their development was like. I listened to the young adults and adults talking, laughing, dancing. I took in so much from the experience that day that I felt like my ears were ringing from standing too close to the amps at a rock show.
Doug and I were pretty shy, we didn't reach out to others and introduce ourselves. Aidan was almost 3 at the time he really took a lot of our attention.
Since then, we have gone to the Wichita Buddy Walks and feel much more comfortable with ourselves at the event. I love meeting new families and just the whole spirit of the day. The Wichita walk is a smaller event, less than 1500 attending I think, so it's more intimate. As our family is getting older, they seem to enjoy the event more. Aidan loves his Buddy Walk shirts and talks about how much fun he has at them. Sean's cousins seem to enjoy it too, and I think it has helped them understand Down syndrome in ways we couldn't verbalize.
Well, I guess my point is, if you are near us, we'd love to see you on October 4th. If you are not near, it would be super cool if you checked out your area for a Buddy Walk to attend. To me, it's not about who has the biggest team or raises the most money. It's about celebrating our life together.
Our first Buddy Walk
Second Buddy Walk
Third Buddy Walk