The National Advocate for People with Down Syndrome Since 1979

National Down Syndrome Society
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My Brother and Buddy for Life
Brandon and Me at the San Jose Buddy Walk in 2010
Brandon and Me at the San Jose Buddy Walk in 2010
My Brother and Buddy for Life

Not everyone is lucky to have a buddy that loves them unconditionally, but I am one of the lucky ones! My name is Zach Vaiana and one of my best friends is Brandon Gruber; I even like to think of him as my little brother. I had the fortunate opportunity to meet Brandon when I was a freshman in high school helping with the football program, Camp of the Stars. It was my first year to help out and I was the youngest volunteer so they paired me with the youngest camper, Brandon. That was my lucky day! When you meet Brandon you quickly learn he has a unique outlook on life, an incredible amount of energy and a true love for learning. What you don’t realize is that he will leave a lasting impression on you. When I started helping Brandon at camp that first year, I thought I would mainly be helping Brandon learn about playing football, but what I found was that he would be the one teaching me about life and finding joy in everything I do. I am so grateful that I met Brandon and his family. Not only have we continued to be buddies at football camp for the past five years, but we have also supported each other away from camp. Brandon eagerly attended many of my high school football games and high school graduation party and I was able to see him in a couple of school plays, a day at the beach and walk with him in the Buddy Walk in San Jose. You see, my friend Brandon was born with Down syndrome, but for me, he is simply my little brother who loves me unconditionally. I am grateful that God placed Brandon in my life five years ago and hope that we can continue our friendship and brotherhood for many years to come. Love you Buddy!




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