An idea from RDS supporter Siobhan Pritchard led to the first annual Research Down Syndrome WDSD Virtual Run/Walk on March 21. Over 200 participants across the country ran or walked some variation of 3…2…1 to raise awareness of Down syndrome cognitive research and raise funds to support this remarkable medical initiative. Siobhan was assisted by other parents in organizing and promoting this campaign. Said Siobhan before the event, “I don’t care if you walk or run 321 feet, 3.21 blocks, 3.21 miles or 21 miles. I just urge parents, family, friends and supporters of persons with Down syndrome to join together on this day to showcase and support the remarkable research underway that is beginning to understand the origins of learning difficulties in persons with Down syndrome. Three separate human clinical trials are already underway to test potential drug treatments. It is so encouraging.” After the event, Siobhan added, “Thanks to everyone across the country that participated. We all had a lot of fun!"
Siobhan and husband Dan participated by running 21.3 miles for their event. Across the country, events were organized to celebrate WDSD. For instance, Kathy Rogers organized a 3.21 mile run in Charleston, SC, and Ida Wagner held a similar event in Huntington, West Virginia. Lara Font in Houston added a restaurant fundraiser(thank you, Victor Litwenko!) to her run. Debbie Drew ran her miles on County Road 321 in Texas. The event had international participants, including Cassie Ossorio Gonzales in a WDSD virtual run in Belgium.
The WDSD Virtual Run/Walk raised nearly $13,000 and served to promote awareness of the incredible progress of Down syndrome cognitive research. As importantly, participants were able to model and reinforce the benefits of an active lifestyle on cognitive health.
Onwards to WDSD Virtual Run/Walk 2015, and thank you, SIobhan!