Friday, August 24, 2012
By EARTHA TERRELL
Community members from all over joined together and walked for a good cause during the fifth annual “Buddy Walk of the Valley” hosted by the Down Syndrome Association of the Valley at the Shops of Boardman Park Aug. 11.
The event honored two local families with plaques in memory of their loved ones and awarded Canfield High School graduate Kaylee Kapalko and South Range High School graduate Laura McEwan, with academic scholarships whose studies directly impact the lives of those with Down syndrome.
“It’s phenomenal, we get an enormous amount of support from individuals and businesses. We had about 2,200 people at the event. Each year we have just an enormous amount of sponsorship and it’s just a good way to get out to the community. It has become a real summer event that people look forward to. We had 44 teams that were formed generally around individuals with Down syndrome. It’s just a great publicity builder,” said Down Syndrome Association of the Valley representative Kelly Donadio.
Hundreds of people walked around the parking lot of Boardman Shops in their green T-shirts cheering and waving signs to show support for family members and others with Down syndrome. Some people were just excited to see old friends while spreading awareness about Down Syndrome.
“I fully support the Down Syndrome of the Valley. They do so much for the kids. I enjoy seeing friends that we’ve made and new people. It’s very important to see the community support the organization and the kids. We’re fortunate to live in a place where people feel that way,” said Pam Petras.
The event also provided many fun activities for adults and children to enjoy, which included games, raffles, face paintings, dancing and food.