Do You Have a Buddy?

John Dear of Coopie, IncWe were really excited to be involved with this year’s Buddy Walk 2010 in Charlotte, North Carolina and from everything we’ve heard, it was a huge success. We started out supporting Chaser’s Racers, but through Laurie’s connections, we became involved with several teams and helped them create some adorable team shirts to wear for the walk (and around the house, to school, play, etc)!

Here’s a little recap and some pics from Laurie of Chaser’s Racers and Welcome to the Mad House about why the Buddy Walk is so important. We are happy to have Chase as our buddy!

******Did you know that October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month? Most of the Down syndrome organizations choose to hold their annual Buddy Walks this month because of it. The Buddy Walk is the child of the National Down Syndrome Society (www.NDSS.org), and was created in 1995 to bring awareness and acceptance of people with Down syndrome. It is also most organizations’ main means of raising money for their local programs.

Down syndrome didn’t mean a whole lot to me until April 23, 2007. Well, actually 5 days after that when it was confirmed that my new baby boy, Chase, had it. Because we had such a limited knowledge of what Down syndrome meant, my husband and I were completely crushed. We mourned the loss of the child we thought we were supposed to have…and worried about what the future would bring with this new twist.

John Dear of Coopie, IncI’m happy to say that we didn’t stay in that dark place for very long. We didn’t have time to…! Chase (and his 47 chromosomes) was our BOY…my child…and has a face and a personality that you can’t help but love. And it is with that love that we give him every possible chance at life to succeed- through early intervention therapies, through new medical knowledge, through inclusion of every form. Chase will be successful, independent, and lead a fulfilling life…because he is loved and accepted.

My mission now is to show that off to everyone else. Because I can’t imagine life without my little spitfire, and it pains me- actually physically pains me that over 90% of mothers receiving a prenatal diagnosis of Ds choose to terminate their baby. NINETY PERCENT. Also over 90% of the funding for research through the National Health Institute is delegated to prenatal testing. How morbid is THAT? It is assumed that the ‘cure’ for children like Chase is to never let them be born. Unbelievable.

They have it totally wrong, though. The cure is acceptance and understanding. The cure is opportunities, high expectations, and research money siphoned into isolating the genes that are responsible for the cognitive delay (of which there is HUGE progress on…see www.dstrf.org for more information and how you can donate to their research).

And THAT is why we walk for Chase, and for all our little friends with Trisomy 21. We walk for awareness of the possibilities and the blessings that Chase brings to us, and we want to share them with the world.

A BIG thanks to Always Happy Life, who sponsored our team, Chaser’s Racers, and provided us with awesome team shirts to wear to the walk. We know Becky and Ed couldn’t be there with us in body, but they were there in spirit!

They missed a fantastic event, filled with bounce houses, ice cream, face painting, and happy, sweaty kids. Everyone was exhausted at the end of the day, in that good I-can’t-fit-any-more-fun-into-my-tired-body kind of feeling. The DSAC raised over $140,000 (double last year’s total!) and we hosted 1,800 people at Freedom Park in Charlotte, NC. 1,800 people who will never be the same, because they know someone like my Chase.

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