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Buddy Walk in Bellevue will raise awareness of Down syndrome, promote inclusion

Down Syndrome Community of Puget Sound is hosting the 25th Annual Puget Sound Buddy Walk to promote acceptance, inclusion and respect of people with Down syndrome.

BELLEVUE, Wash. — The Down Syndrome Community of Puget Sound (DSC) is bringing back its annual Buddy Walk in person and online this year in an effort to raise awareness and promote inclusion for people with Down syndrome.

DSC is a non-profit that has been supporting individuals with Down syndrome and their families for more than 30 years in the Puget Sound region. The Buddy Walk is the organization's largest event.

The organization's focus on empowerment through life-long learning is something DSC Board Member and Self Advocate Joey Kane knows well.

Kane lives in his own apartment, loves his job and hanging out with his friends.

"For me, what it's all about is just making sure that we're all one family and we're all included in the whole community, and being treated exactly how everybody else wants to be treated," he said.

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The 25th Annual Buddy Walk invites families, friends and supporters of the Down syndrome community to come together and raise awareness. 

"The buddy walk is a day of celebration to promote the acceptance, inclusion and respect of individuals with Down syndrome, so it won't just be Bellevue, it will be Kirkland, it will be Minnesota, it will be different areas of the country just for awareness and inclusion," said DSC member Rochelle.

"Ava is our daughter, 12 years old in seventh grade, she's just funny, charismatic," said DSC member Dawn. "Well, DSC has meant a lot to us from birth to adulthood and all the programs and events that they put on."

The Buddy Walk kicks off at 11 a.m. on Oct. 10 at Downtown Bellevue Park. Pre-registration is required. Those who aren't comfortable attending the walk in person can join online. 

The walk will begin with a bagpipe performance from a community member. 

"We are grateful to be able to do this, and this is a great community to be in, and thanks to everyone for helping to support us," said Kane.