This past Saturday the annual "El Paso Buddy Walk" aimed to show support and recognition of Down Syndrome.
The event, hosted by EPCC and the Down Syndrome Coalition for El Paso (DSCEP), consisted of 1,200 people at Americana Language Village.
PHOTO BYNICOLE CUELLAR/TEJANO TRIBUNE
More than a thousand participants donated to support Down Syndrome at this year's Buddy Walk event on Oct. 7 at the Valle Verde Americana Language Village.
“The Buddy Walk is such an amazing way to get our city together and support our friends and families with disabilities,” participant, Amanda Velasco, said.
This walk is one of the 250 that takes place nationally as October is National Down Syndrome month.
Down syndrome is a rare genetic disorder that occurs in 1 out 700 births in the United States.
“I have a 16-year-old granddaughter, Cassie, who is in high school and on the cheer team.
It’s amazing to see her charge ahead no matter the obstacles she faces. We are walking for her to show our support and love,” said participant Cathy Bowers.
Each participant gave a $15 registration fee to join the three-quarter-mile walk around the campus.
The DSCEP gave out bright yellow "2017 Buddy Walk" shirts.
“The hard work and ambition of these families to raise funds in support of down syndrome shows the love and strength they have for their children as they experience the journey of it all,” Velasco said.
Also in attendance was Chico the Chihuahua, El Paso Chihuahua baseball team mascot, Spike the Rhino, El Paso Rhino's Hockey team mascot and Tejano Jack, EPCC mascot.
Cheerleaders from EPCC and Montwood High School gave a performance to help rile up the crowd before the walk.
“We as a community should support and come together to help build awareness and friendships with our students with disabilities,” Velasco said.
After the walk the El Paso Rhino’s Hockey team, along with the three mascots, helped pass out “buddy medals” to all individuals with down syndrome and children in attendance.
Then they announced this year’s team winners who donated the most money and who had the largest amount of members.
Evelyn’s Entourage, one of the Down Syndrome teams that participated, won first place in “Most Earned” donating $3,796. Maddie’s Team won “Largest Team” with 125 members in attendance that day.
Sponsors like Albertsons, iHeart media, KISS-FM, Southwest University and 29 other sponsors also helped donate money towards the DSCEP.
All in all, this year set a record-breaking high raising $29,435 all of which will be donated to the DSCEP toward scholarships for EPCC students with disabilities.
“I’m here celebrating my daughter, Bree, who had down syndrome.
She was seven years old when she died she would be 23 in December.
So, every time there’s a Buddy Walk, I try to come and help as much as I can,” participant Magdalena Bowers said.
For more information about walking or how you can become a participant in next year’s walk, please visit www.epccbuddywalk.org.