Today we participated in our first ever Buddy Walk! I didn't realize it until watching the news this morning that our Buddy Walk is generally the largest in the country. Last year there were 11,000 people participating. I was worried about the weather. It stormed last night and the weather channel kept saying it would rain until 9:30 a.m. Ironically, as we drove downtown the rain started to let up and the skies started to brighten. Everything was water-logged, but the rain stopped about 9:20 as we climbed out of the car to join the festivities.
|Hailey loves Joella (and her long, ready to be pulled blond hair!)|
|Of course Ian has to check out the Reds tent!|
|There was no way to get a picture of all of the people! It was unbelievable.|
|Isn't she beautiful?!|
|Hailey trying to get Laney's attention...Joella trying to protect her big sister.|
|What a gorgeous day it was!|
|Too much excitement for Baby Isaac!|
|Taken just for Hailey's uncle.|
|Gapper...another must stop for Ian!|
|Dad and Ian|
I was so excited to join the Buddy Walk this year because we didn't last year. It was too close to Hailey's heart surgery (2 months) and we were emotionally spent. I couldn't deal with the emotion of the walk. My oldest son had a soccer game at the same time as the walk. We left it up to him so he has decided he will go to the Buddy Walk every other year so he played his soccer game this year and next year will join us. So it was the 4 of us and I received an email the end of last week from a very dear friend that her and her family were planning on driving up from Lexington to join us. Her daughter, Joella, is a beautiful, sassy, 5 year old and has Down syndrome. They participate in their local Buddy Walk, but she wanted to join us in our first. I'm so glad she did. She was a distraction for me!
There were so many people....so many groups (families, cheerleaders, co-workers, therapists, Xavier University sport teams, high school teams). Everyone has a different reason for being there:
- have a child, sibling, grandchild, niece, nephew or cousin with Down syndrome
- a friend has a relative with Down syndrome
- a co-worker has a relative with Down syndrome
- volunteering for community service hours for school
|Hailey finally gave it up!|
I was afraid that this walk would resurface my fears of DS, but they didn't. Seeing people of all ages sometimes will bring up original fears that I had once Hailey was diagnosed, but I didn't feel them at all. I could just feel the love and happiness and pure joy from everyone. I know that not everyone will make it to a Buddy Walk in their lifetime, but I encourage everyone to try to make it to one. Your support would mean everything and you won't regret it!