By Veronica Fratta
Michele Both is a busy mom of four beautiful children aged 15, 12, 9, and 6. Yet once a year, she finds the time to organize a walk that mobilizes 650 people to support individuals with Down syndrome.
Michele’s second child, Kyle, was born with Down syndrome. That October, Michele and family attended their first Buddy Walk. As they drove home from the walk, Michele mused about starting a walk closer to home. The very next year, Michele did just that. With help from friends and family, she put on the first Buddy Walk of South Plainfield, New Jersey. About 250 people joined her to show their support.
Now in its 12th year, the South Plainfield Buddy Walk brings together friends and families of individuals with Down syndrome. Boy and Girl Scouts and youth from various area schools join them to help with the event, which features not just the walk but lunch, games, raffles, and a DJ to pump up the energy.
Michele’s motivation is to raise awareness and promote acceptance of people with Down syndrome as well as raise funds for various Down syndrome organizations because Michele wants to put the money to good use. As a recipient of the Buddy Walk of South Plainfield’s generosity, we at the LuMind Research Down Syndrome Foundation are so grateful for their invaluable contributions to our research efforts! We share a common mission of improving the lives of individuals with Down syndrome and we appreciate their support.
The next Buddy Walk of South Plainfield takes place on October 3, 2015, at Putnam Park in South Plainfield, New Jersey. Please go to www.buddywalkofsouthplainfield.com for more information.