Buddy Walk Back in person to promote Down Syndrome Awareness

Dade Brady is a cheerful and smiling 3-year-old boy. His parents, Heather and Dustin Brady, had no idea of ​​the journey that would unfold for them and their son on the day he was born. After all, it wasn’t until he was born that his parents found out about his diagnosis of Down syndrome.

Despite genetic testing, numerous ultrasounds, and even appointments with a pediatric cardiologist, doctors found no signs of Down syndrome. Heather said when she did the genetic tests they found T21 (trisomy 21) which determines if a baby has the disease, but no heart problems were detected and still are not detected at this time. day, which is common for people with Down. syndrome.

Heather said she believed everything worked out so she didn’t feel the need to control or fear the future. Now, Heather, Dustin and Dade are the family ambassadors for the Family Connection SC Buddy Walk which will take place on November 6 at the sports fields of Saluda Shoals Park.

Being the ambassador family was not something they were looking for. The family had been on the Buddy Walk for a few years as it went virtual due to the pandemic. This is the first year of an in-person return of the national network of walks launched in 1955 to raise awareness of Down syndrome.

“It helps tell the story and it’s an opportunity to share things learned as a family with Down syndrome,” Heather said.

“Sometimes it’s overwhelming,” she admitted, “but if there’s a struggling family, it’s motivating to hear the hope of others and it can help change their state of mind. spirit.”

Heather believes in advocating for Family Connection SC because there are so many people, especially families with special needs, who are unaware of the nonprofit organization and the services it provides.

Family Connection’s mission is to connect and create awareness for all people with special needs, said Jacki Garbinsky, the group’s head of marketing and events.

“We are a necessary listening ear for those who travel,” she said.

The local Buddy Walk is just one of the events offered by the organization. It’s an inclusive celebration for all people with Down syndrome and their families and friends.

We are thrilled to host Buddy Walk 2022 as an in-person celebration for families, friends, sponsors and supporters to come together in honor of Down syndrome awareness and to help support Family’s mission. Connection,” said Amy Holbert, CEO of the nonprofit. “Family Connection continues to serve more than 4,000 families each year who have a disabled or chronically ill child. Buddy Walk is a wonderful opportunity to bring people together to support our goals of promoting inclusion, equity and community.

More than 50 teams have registered for this year’s Columbia Walk, Garbinsky said.

One of the goals of the walk is to raise funds for free services offered to families who have a child with special needs.

“We want to serve [families’] they need when they need it, which is why fundraising is so important,” Garbinsky said.

Heather praised Family Connection’s impact on the families it works with.

“It is an organization that gives hope to families. They can plug in hope. There are so many resources out there for people and I want to spread the word,” she said. “The only negative was that I had to figure it out on my own before Family Connection happened.”

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