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  • Giselle Smith

2019 Buddy Walk & The Down Syndrome Association of the Heartland

Updated: Oct 18, 2019

There is still time to sign up for the 2019 Buddy Walk for the Down Syndrome Association of the Heartland taking place next Saturday! We had the pleasure of working with the most adorable babes: Amelia House and Ryan McGinnis in this feature article with the talented Elaina Janes Photography at Denzien Elizabethtown for the first issue Elizabethtown Lifestyle Magazine. Read on to learn more about the Down Syndrome Association of the Heartland and their annual event, The Buddy Walk which will take place the coming weekend: Saturday, October 26, 2019 from 4:00pm to 8:00pm at Crossroads Baptist Church.

The emotions we experience in life, more often than not, are very similar to the emotions we experience when riding a roller coaster. Sometimes, life can be exhilarating. Sometimes, life can be breathtaking. Sometimes, life can be overwhelming. Sometimes, life can be scary. And sometimes, you just need something – or someone – to hold on to while you close your eyes and wonder if you are going to make it through the ride at all. Many of these emotions, plus others, were the driving force behind the official formation of Down Syndrome Association of the Heartland in the summer of 2018.


Down syndrome is a genetic condition which is the most commonly occurring chromosomal condition. It occurs in 1 out of every 691 births and affects people of all races and economic levels. Typically, babies receive 23 chromosomes from their mother and 23 from their fathers. An individual with Down syndrome, for unknown reasons, will have three copies of the 21st chromosome instead of two. That is why Down syndrome is called Trisomy 21. Every cell will contain 47 chromosomes instead of the typical 46. There are also two other forms of Down syndrome which are quite rare – mosaic and translocation.


Ultimately, this extra genetic material will affect a baby’s development; however, the baby has also inherited many of the physical and personality characteristics from his/her parents as well. A definitive diagnosis can only be made with a karyotype, which is a visual display of an individual’s chromosomes.


In the United States, there are approximately 350,000 individuals living with Down Syndrome. These individuals are active, vital members of their families and communities. A life with Down syndrome is a life well-worth living!

The Down Syndrome Association of the Heartland, Inc. is a non-profit organization that offers support to individuals with Down syndrome, as well as their families, caregivers, teachers and co-workers. Furthermore, the organization strives to educate the public at-large about Down syndrome. It is the desire of the Down Syndrome Association of the Heartland (which also goes by DSAH) for every individual who has been touched by Down syndrome, regardless of age, to have access to support and services which aid each individual in reaching his or her individual potential.


Ever since the Summer of 2018, for a little over a year now, the organization has continued to grow. The organization has grown in terms of families that they have connected with and in terms of activities and programming for families touched by Down syndrome. The organization has been growing in terms of community awareness. And, last, but certainly not least, the organization has been growing in terms of financial support.

The Down Syndrome Association of the Heartland’s first fundraiser was conducted in October 2018, which was the Buddy Walk. The Buddy Walk is a national event established in 1995 by the National Down Syndrome Society. Last year’s event was the first Buddy Walk event held in Hardin County. There were twenty-two teams and more than 200 participants. The organization was able to raise $25,000.


The Down Syndrome Association of the Heartland Buddy Walk will take place Saturday, October 26, 2019 from 4:00pm to 8:00pm at Crossroads Baptist Church. Sign up now to donate or show your support: https://www.ds-stride.org/dsaheartlandbuddywalk


With the Buddy Walk, families form teams for their loved-one who has been touched by Down syndrome. From there, families work to put people on their teams to raise money that goes to the local organization. Corporate sponsorships are also available. At the Buddy Walk, families take a leisurely stroll on a 1-mile course. After the Buddy Walk concludes, there is a Fall Festival – complete with pumpkin patches, music, free food, games, hayrides and music. The organization partners with Crossroads Baptist Church in Elizabethtown to make the event a success.


You can reach Down Syndrome Association of the Heartland at info@dsheartland.org or by calling 270-723-4548 or visiting www.dsheartland.org. Be sure to follow us on your favorite social sites: Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest to stay up-to-date on local events. If you attend The 2019 Buddy Walk, please tag us in your Instagram posts #elizabethtownlifestyle. We can't wait!


Have a fabulous weekend!



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