WEST JEFFERSON-The High Country’s fourth annual Buddy Walk goes down this Saturday at Ashe County High School.
Equal parts fundraiser, awareness campaign and celebration, each Buddy Walk offers a hand up and a smile to help friends and families dealing with Down Syndrome. Here’s what you need to know.
ACHS is the place to be
This year’s Buddy Walk takes places Sept. 10, at Ashe County High School’s outdoor track. On-site registration begins at 9:30 a.m., while team introductions and opening events begin at 10:15 a.m. Following the singing of the National Anthem, walkers will lap the track beginning at 11 a.m.
Buddy Walk needs your help
The event hopes to raise some $15,000 through Saturday, and the group is already closing in on $10,000, according to event co-coordinator Lynn Robinson. “Most all of that money stays right here in the community,” Robinson said. “Down Syndrome represents challenges other people don’t face – things like communication, heart conditions and education sometimes pose extra hurdles – so we’ve placed an emphasis on thing like support therapy, and buying swing sets and recreational stuff to help families out.”
And teams are sharing the load
So far, at least three local Buddy Walk teams have cracked the $1,000 fundraising mark, including Caleb’s Heart ($2,045), Addie Brigade ($1,390), and Cohen’s Minions ($1,310), with two others raising more than $500 – Kenzie’s Krew and Summit Support Services.
Buddy Walks are about more than just fundraising, though
Robinson said the annual walks act as a kind of support group for families searching for answers to the special issues faced in helping loved ones deal with Down Syndrome. “Sometimes it’s enough to know that, hey, other people are going through the same things you are,” Robinson said. “They face similar challenges and celebrate the same things, so it’s good to learn from others and support them along their way.”
No reason to hide
Robinson said each Buddy Walk is also meant to be a visible reminder that people with special needs are members of the community, too. “The message is, it’s OK to be proud of who you are,” Robinson said. “I also think it’s important that the community is open to everybody and welcomes people from every race, from all abilities. That’s what Buddy Walk is about.”
What to expect?
Music and activities, including face painting, a SNAP by Ang photobooth, cornhole, pitching machine, bounce houses, disc golf, balloon animals, food truck, icees, Strider balance bikes, Ernie Carpenter’s Train and much much more! “We fully expect good weather but do have the high school gym and commons area to use just in case it rains,” Robinson said. “There will be signs out to let you know where to find us. Parking will be in the front of the school and in the back near the field.”
Reach Adam Orr at 336-489-3058.