Tyler was still a baby when our first Buddy Walk came around. I was initially overwhelmed but within minutes of scanning the Buddy Walk materials on the DSACT website, I created a team, sent a few emails to our closest friends and family—using the templates provided by DSACT—and I was on my way. The response from family and friends was amazing! The day the Buddy Walk finally arrived, I was concerned our small—but mighty—Tyler’s Titans would pale in comparison to others. I quickly realized the Buddy Walk isn’t about the size of your team; it’s about recognizing, celebrating and sharing with Central Texas the accomplishments and gifts of our friends and family who have Down syndrome. My first Buddy Walk changed me! I finally felt I wasn’t alone. My family has received so much from DSACT and I want to give back. The Buddy Walk is where I choose to give back!
When I think of DSACT, the words advocacy, camaraderie, community, and friendship come to mind. DSACT is with families from the beginning of their journey. Shortly after Kynlee was born, we had visitors from the DSACT new parent outreach program come talk with us, give us resources, and share their own story. This small gesture meant the world to us because we knew we were not alone. Over the years, Kynlee has participated in many free programs and playgroups offered by DSACT, which facilitate not only learning but also long-lasting friendships. We’ve also attended some great events as well such as the Calendar Gala, the Pack the ZACH Cocktail Party, and of course, the Buddy Walk! The Buddy Walk is DSACT’s largest annual fundraiser and so important to building our community. Having Down syndrome in no way defines who Kynlee is or what she can accomplish now or later on, but children and adults with Down syndrome do need a little extra help from all of us and this is what DSACT and the Buddy Walk are all about!