Buddy Walk Saturday to support the Down Syndrome Association

JACKSONVILLE, Florida – The Acosta Bridge will be illuminated in blue and yellow throughout this week ahead of Saturday’s annual Buddy Walk to raise awareness of Down syndrome.

A local family is among the hundreds helped by the efforts of the Down Syndrome Association each year. The Abadins learned of Amelia’s diagnosis of Down’s syndrome a month after her birth.

“She has mosaic Down syndrome which is very rare,” said mother Annette Abadin. “About 1% of the population of people with Down’s syndrome have mosaic disease. Fifty percent of her cells were, you know, the typical 46 chromosomes and the other half had 47. She had an extra chromosome on verse 20 … so she’s basically a mixture of a person’s DNA. typical and someone with Down syndrome.

Today, three and a half years later, Amelia continues to thrive.

“Super social, she loves to dance. She’s in ballet lessons. Is very musically motivated, great at Coconut melon, Frozen is her favorite. So I think you know we have a very typical experience raising her, she likes the same things as kids her age and her friends, ”Abadin said.

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The Abadins attribute much of Amelia’s success to the unwavering support of the Down Syndrome Association.

“What DSAJ has done for us so far is they’ve helped us cover a lot of the costs of Amelia’s therapies,” said Abadin. “Additionally, we have just come into contact with this massive community in Jacksonville of loving, supportive and positive families.”

“Right from the start when they get this diagnosis knowing that they can pick up the phone and that we will be there for them and support them – not just for the immediate need, but throughout their child’s life. into adulthood, ”said Debbie Revels, executive director of the Down Syndrome Association of Jacksonville. “And we’ve heard it time and time again that the resources we provide have changed their opinion of diagnosis. It gives them peace, it gives them comfort and it gives them a positive feeling that they got this and that they are going to have the support they need on this journey.

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The 19th annual Buddy Walk runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday in Jacksonville Beach.

Photo of the previous Buddy Walk at the SeaWalk Pavilion in Jacksonville Beach. (Photo provided to WJXT)

He raises awareness and educates about Down syndrome while helping to raise funds for families who navigate these realities.

“So as not to have any preconceptions, I know that in the past there has been a lot of negativity and a lot of sadness associated with this diagnosis. What you know we had in the beginning just because we didn’t know any better, right? But now that they are completely engulfed in this community, there is so much hope and potential that everyone is unleashing now that they are giving people with Down syndrome the opportunity and the right tools to be successful in life. I just want the community as a whole to understand that this is not something to look down upon, that it will not be a sad life or a sad future. We are really excited and we know that Amelia’s future will be bright, as are all of her friends with Down’s Syndrome, ”said Abadin.

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“I love you baby, enjoy your baby first.” When it’s time for you to log in, you’ll know. We’re going to be sitting here waiting for you, ”Revels said.

Over 2,000 people have signed up for the Buddy Walk and DSAJ says there will be carnival rides, face painting and more.

Click here for more information on this year’s Buddy Walk or to find Down Syndrome resources in our area.

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