CENTERVILLE – It’s a chance to take a walk with a friend and help out a good cause.
Registration is now open for the 2014 Davis County Buddy Walk and 5K race, set for Sept. 13 from 8:30 a.m.-2 p.m. at Centerville Community Park. The event raises money for the Utah Down Syndrome Foundation, as well as encouraging acceptance of those with Down Syndrome.
“The more people we have involved, the more will interact with our kids, get to know them, and not be afraid of them,” said walk co-coordinator Leona Cooper, who has a daughter with Down Syndrome.
It also helps build friendships among parents of those with Down Syndrome.
“It’s nice to meet other people who understand what it’s like,” said Jill Puffer, the president of the foundations’s Davis County chapter. Puffer, who also has a child with Down Syndrome, is helping to coordinate the race.
The 5K race will begin at 8:30 a.m., with on-site registration open before the start of the race. The walk begins at 10 a.m., and normally lasts approximately a half hour. Groups will circle the park with other walkers, then enjoy a variety of activities.
“We’re encouraging people to build teams around family members with Down Syndrome,” said Cooper.
Registration in both the 5K and the Buddy Walk is $20 for adults, $15 for kids, and free for individuals with Down Syndrome. Registration for the Buddy Walk is $10 for adults and $7 for kids. Everyone who registers before Sept. 7 is assured a T-shirt with their registration, though a limited amount may still be available for those registering the day of the event.
“It’s a great community thing,” said Puffer. “We always get a lot of high school students volunteering.”
Donations are also appreciated from those who may not be participating in the event, whether or not they have a personal tie to someone with Down Syndrome. Corporations and businesses are also welcome to sponsor the event.
All money raised at the event will go toward the foundation’s myriad programs, which includes hospital meals, care packages and meetings for new and expectant parents of children with Down Syndrome, training programs, teen and adult activities, and more.
“We do a lot of workshops and learning for parents,” said Puffer. “It brings people together.”
All together, the foundation’s goal is to help those with Down Syndrome and their families in any way possible.
“We would like every baby, child, student and adult with Down Syndrome to have access to support and services to help each one reach his or her potential,” said Steve Hansen, director of the Utah Down Syndrome Foundation.
The park is located at 750 E. and 550 South in Centerville. To register, learn more about the Utah Down Syndrome Foundation and to check out other Buddy Walks around the state, visit udsf.org/buddy-walk.php.