Benjamin’s Buddies Top Fundraiser For Down Syndrome Buddy Walk

The top fundraising team for the 21st annual Buddy Walk is Benjamin’s Buddies. Wellington residents Joe and Chari Sassin have already raised more than $19,000 for this year’s walk to celebrate their 6-year-old son Ben and support the Gold Coast Down Syndrome Organization.

Ben attends Panther Run Elementary School, which he loves, but his true passion is cars — his favorite is a Chevy Camaro Convertible SS. This year’s Buddy Walk on Sunday, Oct. 18 will be Ben’s seventh; he was three months old for his first one. His parents have raised nearly $100,000 for the Gold Coast Down Syndrome Organization.

“We are committed to raising this money because Gold Coast is such an amazing resource for us and for all families of children with Down syndrome in Palm Beach County,” said Chari Sassin, currently vice president of the Gold Coast Down Syndrome Organization. “They were there for us within days of Ben’s diagnosis, and have never stopped being there for us. Gold Coast has become like a second family for Joe and me, and we couldn’t imagine our lives without them. Ben is thriving and achieving so much because of their support.”

Wellington residents Kate Gross and Toby Brodtman are also Buddy Walk major fundraisers. Allergy and Asthma Specialists of South Florida and Estate Properties of Palm Beach are sponsors. Toby Brodtman serves on the Buddy Walk committee along with Todd and Kate Ballard. Royal Palm Beach residents Cyndi Pampena and Tina Trujillo are also committee members.

The 21st annual Buddy Walk will take place on Sunday, Oct. 18 at John Prince Park (4759 S. Congress Ave., Lake Worth). Check-in is at 8 a.m. with the opening ceremony at 8:45 a.m. and the walk starting at 9:15 a.m. All activities are open 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Visit to register online, or contact Anne at or (561) 752-3383 for details.

ABOVE: Benjamin Sassin, 6, is the inspiration for Benjamin’s Buddies, the top fundraiser for the Gold Coast Down Syndrome Buddy Walk.