3rd Annual ‘Maine Down Syndrome Walk’ To Raise Money & Awareness This Month
October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month, and there's one local organization hoping you'll consider joining a fun and informative event to help celebrate and support those with Down Syndrome and their families.
The group Eastern Maine Down Syndrome Support is a local non-profit organization that was started in 2021 by a group of six parents who got together for a playdate in the park.
According to one of its founders, Courtney Sebastiano, that one play date inspired a call to action among the parents involved.
"It was a great time of sharing stories, but we all walked away asking ourselves how we could reach more families. We also saw a need to educate our community!"
Sebastiano, as a young mother of 21, was told her son Jackson had Down syndrome, also known as Trisomy 21, just a short while after he was born.
"At the time of our children’s diagnosis, we all heard about what our babies would never do and how difficult our paths would be. What we didn’t hear about was all of the amazing things that our children would be able to do, and how beautiful our journey really would be."
"Our children are full of joy and love. Of course, there are struggles, but that is why we have each other, and our hope is to expand our circle of support to reach the whole community (and beyond)."
That's why Sebastiano and the other parents started the group and planned a celebratory event last year: The First Annual Bangor Buddy Walk.
"Last year over 100 people showed up and we raised over $5,000!"
The 2022 Buddy Walk was even bigger! They had 200 people and raised $7000.
"Whether someone you love has Down syndrome or you want to come out to help spread awareness and Inclusion, you won’t want to miss this fun-packed day! If you hurry your $10 registration will include a t-shirt, lunch, all activities..."
They also changed the name last year, and will carry the new name on this year.
Sebastiano says all the funds raised during this year's 'Maine Down Syndrome Walk' will go to help obtain more resources for these families. Some of it also goes into making goodie bags for moms whose babies have been newly diagnosed with Down Syndrome.
in 2022, Maine's own celebrity chef, Chef Adam Libby, who himself has Down Syndrome, was on hand to sign autographs and lead the walk.
He will return this year to do the same.
To register for or to donate to this year's walk, you can click this link.
As their website states, "The Eastern Maine Down Syndrome Support Walk 2023 will kick off October’s Down Syndrome Awareness Month to promote support, acceptance, and inclusion. Mark your calendar to join us as we do “A little extra 5k” (3.21 miles)! "
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Gallery Credit: Charlotte Barnett
A Walking Tour Of The Bangor Waterfront
Gallery Credit: https://wbzn.com/author/ajameson/