The Gold Coast Down Syndrome Organization will hold the 18th annual Buddy Walk on Sunday, Oct. 21 at John Prince Park (Center Drive Pavilion, 2700 Sixth Ave. S., Lake Worth). Check-in begins at 8 a.m., the opening ceremony/walk starts at 9:15 a.m., and activities continue throughout the morning until 1 p.m.
Buddy Walk participants can choose a 5K fitness walk or 1-mile advocacy walk followed by a free breakfast, dunk tank, bounce house, petting zoo, rock wall, pony rides, a raffle and silent auction, and more. The Buddy Walk celebrates the talents and capabilities of children and adults with Down syndrome and is the major fundraiser for the Gold Coast Down Syndrome Organization’s programs and services throughout Palm Beach County.
Registrants are encouraged to raise funds to support the Gold Coast Down Syndrome Organization, and there are prizes for raising money. Sponsorship opportunities are available from $250 through $25,000.
Major sponsors for the Buddy Walk include: Patriot Rail, Toshiba Business Solutions Florida, Florida Crystals, the Continental Group, G4S Secure Solutions USA, Winn-Dixie, Raymond James Morgan Keegan, Searcy Denney Scarola Barnhart and Shipley, City Furniture, FPL, Hair Studio Artists, Publix, Palm Beach Auto Works, Fort Lauderdale Order of Police #31, CVS/Caremark, Pepsi and CBS Outdoor Entertainment.
This year’s Buddy Walk chair is Cindy Calvagne, and her committee members are Sheri McCants-Hubers, Daniela Chea, Victoria Berardesco, Laila Seagle, Cyndi Pampena, Traci Lambert, Tina King, Denise Ryan, Lisa Richards, Maria Elena Martin, Cecil Broderick, Toby Brodtman, Kathy Coughlin, Daisy Palmer, Winifred Tuschen, Sue Joyner, Susan Sprayberry, Joe Sassin, DeeAnne Feulner, Tina Trujillo, Gertrude Felix, Sandy McGregor, Joannah Reich and Sue Davis-Killian.
The honorary chair for the walk is Drew Levine, president of G4S Secure Solutions of North America, headquartered in Jupiter. WPBF News 25 evening news anchor Tiffany Kenney will serve as master of ceremonies for the opening ceremonies.
“It is such an honor for me to raise money for the Gold Coast Down Syndrome Organization, which has been an amazing resource for my nephew Dylan, who has Down syndrome, and our family,” Calvagne said. “I am looking forward to exceeding our last year’s net of $125,000 so that we can continue our education and advocacy on behalf of the amazing kids and adults with intellectual disabilities in our community.”
The Gold Coast Down Syndrome Organization supports the inclusion of persons who have Down syndrome in all areas of life as contributing and valued members of society. Gold Coast provides current and positive information about Down syndrome to new parents, sponsors social opportunities for individuals with Down syndrome of all ages, provides parent training and educational advocacy and strives to ensure that individuals with Down syndrome can grow up to live, learn, work and play in their community.
Registration costs $15 through Oct. 7 and $20 afterward. Participants may register day of the walk. The fee includes the walk, family activities and a T-shirt.
To register for the Buddy Walk, or for more information, visit http://buddywalk.kintera.org/gcdso or call (561) 752-3383.
Above: Sasha Brodtman and her grandfather Bernard Cohen enjoy a moment at the 2011 Buddy Walk.