EL CENTRO - The Annual Buddy Walk in Imperial County always brings out hundreds to show support for children with down syndrome, and this year was no different.
Bucklin Park in El Centro was once again the site for the great event that is The Buddy Walk. Imperial Valley residents, family and friends all came out to show support to the Down syndrome community.
The Buddy Walk Celebration included live DJ music and a Health Fair with various health organizations handing out information about their services. Buddy Walk T-shirts were on sale and there were refreshments for everyone.
Once all the participants were ready, Buddy Walk 2012 officially started and off they went.
The walk included residents from all over The Imperial Valley. Groups of family members of those that have Down syndrome as well as friends that have marked this day in their calendars every year, took a stroll on the walk path at Bucklin Park.
Calipatria resident, Leonor Verdugo has a child with Down syndrome; she appreciates events like the Buddy Walk.
"To me, this event signifies something real big", says Verdugo. "Events like these let people know that children with Down syndrome are part of society as much as anybody else. They might have limitations and are a bit slow to learn but they are still human beings and deserve the same attention as you and I".
The event brings out plenty of people that know someone that has Down syndrome but it also brings out people that just wanna show their support.
Janeth Demara looks forward to seeing these individuals every year.
"That's even better because that means that they wanna be part of our kids", she says. "They wanna be part of our people with Down syndrome, they wanna learn more and they want to include our people in their lives".
The Buddy Walk was supposed be a one-time trip around the park, but participants were so excited and inspired that they decided to go around the park twice.
Nathaly Ruiz is 2 years old and has Down syndrome. Her mom, Marisa Villa, says that you can't measure the importance of event like these.
"This event is huge and very satisfying", she says. "Especially because this isn't just local, this event is worldwide. Our sole mission is to support these beautiful children, to include them into society, and hope that society accepts them just the way they are. I am so proud to be a part of this because it is all about the kids".
The event left a satisfaction in those that participated that just can't be explained in words. A few that talked off camera say that they were simply following what their heart was saying. And that is the true meaning behind events like these.
This is the 9th year that The Down Syndrome Association of Imperial Valley has hosted The Buddy Walk and they couldn't be happier with the results as many, many residents in the Imperial Valley came out to take a walk in the park.
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