Columbia Buddy Walk Raises $40,000 for Down Syndrome Awareness and Research; $68,000 Raised Statewide

November 16, 2011

COLUMBIA, SC – November 15, 2011 – Buddy Walk, the annual celebrationof people with Down syndrome, was hosted by Family Connection of SC inColumbia, Spartanburg, and Anderson during the month of October.Overall, the three separate Buddy Walks had more than 1,700 people inattendance and raised more than $68,000 to fund Down syndrome researchnationally, and to support local programs for South Carolina familiesthrough Family Connection.

  • Columbia Buddy Walk had more than 1,050 people in attendance and received over $40,000 in donations.
  • Spartanburg Buddy Walk had 300 people in attendance and received more than $18,000 in donations.
  • Anderson Buddy Walk had 350 people in attendance and received more than $10,000 in donations.

“At Buddy Walk, I saw the community embrace children and adults withDown syndrome. It was just one big day of celebration and fun,” saidVanessa Clark, Community Impact Coordinator for Family Connection.

“Every person who participates in the walk is a goodwill ambassador forthose with Down syndrome,” said Phyllis Wooten, a Buddy Walk participantwhose son, Chase, has Down syndrome. “I think most of the time, when adiagnosis of Down syndrome is given, fear takes over because the focusis on negative information. Every person taking part in Buddy Walk has apositive story to tell, and hopefully they got a chance to share itwith someone who needed to hear it.”

According to,one in every 691 babies is born with Down syndrome, making it the mostcommonly occurring chromosomal condition. In the United States alone,there are more than 400,000 people with Down syndrome.

The National Down Syndrome Society established the Buddy Walk to promoteacceptance and inclusion of people with Down syndrome and to celebrateNational Down Syndrome Awareness Month in October. Buddy Walk top sponsors for Columbia included: WIS-TV, The Statenewspaper, Clear Channel, Grace Outdoor, Select Health of SC, SCSolutions, Saluda Shoals Park, Irmo Chapin Recreation Center, Esther andJay Overbay, Party Booths of the Carolinas, and Special Olympics SC. 

About Family Connection

Family Connection is a statewide, nonprofit organization that helpsthousands of children in South Carolina reach their potential byproviding parent-to-parent connections, linking families to communityresources and sponsoring educational and support programs. For moreinformation about Family Connection, visit or call 1-800-578-8750.