On September 21, 2013, NDSS was joined by 1,800 people at the 19th Annual Flagship Buddy Walk® in New York City to honor and celebrate individuals with Down syndrome in our communities. This event raises awareness and funds for programs that benefit people with Down syndrome and their families. To date, $150,000 has been donated to NDSS by 3,000 donors in support of this event.
The Flagship Buddy Walk® kicked off in Times Square where people from all over the world gathered to watch the annual NDSS Times Square Video. There is no way to describe the magical feeling in Times Square that morning, but this EarthCam video provides footage from the presentation on New Corporation’s Sony screen that definitely captures the magnitude of the event. Please note that EarthCam records the sounds of the street whereas the NDSS Times Square Video that is featured on YouTube is set to music. Congratulations to all of the people chosen to be featured in the 2013 NDSS Times Square Video, and thank you to all who submitted photos.
Starting at 11:00 AM, activities of all kinds opened at the Great Hill in Central Park, the scene of the 2013 Flagship Buddy Walk® in New York City. Before the opening ceremony, Meg’s Melodies performed on stage followed by a stretching routine led by WeeZee World. The kids’ area was filled with carnival games, parachute games, jewelry-making, face painting and nail polishing by the Polish Girlz, and elsewhere participants enjoyed food, fruit and water donated by Driscoll Foods, Wuhl Shafman Lieberman Corporation and Bimbo Bakeries. Brad Hennefer’s Golf For Life Foundation offered a free golf clinic for people of all ages and abilities and the Exhibitor Marketplace included free giveaways and fun activities sponsored by local agencies, support groups, museums and retailers. The warm weather and bright event t-shirts added to a friendly and welcoming environment where people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities interacted with each other and enjoyed promoting the mission of the National Buddy Walk® Program.
During the opening ceremony, NDSS Ambassadors, Chris Wragge (WCBS2 News) and Chris Burke, saluted the amazing event participants. They were joined on stage by the 2013 Self-Advocate Buddy Walk® Ambassador, Carrie Bergeron. Carrie spoke to the crowd and performed an interpretive dance routine using American Sign Language to Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful.” Chris Burke presented the 2013 Dan Piper Award to Sean Adams from LaRose, Louisiana. Sean addressed the crowd with a speech about his involvement and leadership in his home community. Co-anchor of the NBC TODAY Show, Savannah Guthrie, announced the names of the top fundraisers and kicked off the Walk.
After a one mile, non-competitive walk into Central Park, Chris Burke with John and Joe DeMasi performed their folk-rock music hits followed by a lively set from local band, Songs for Seeds. Self-Advocate Mickey Elvis along with DJ Amber Valentine led the closing dance party that boomed until 3:00 PM. By this time we were “All Shook Up.”
View select photos from the 2013 Flagship Buddy Walk® in New York City.
Learn more about 2013 Flagship Buddy Walk® in New York City.
Contact NDSS Buddy Walk® staff with questions, comments and feedback.