Friday, October 4, 2013

An Awe-Inspiring Showing of Support: another truth about Down syndrome walks

Tomorrow is my local organization’s annual charitable walk to kick off October being National Down Syndrome Awareness Month. I can’t wait.
Last week, as part of a blog hop, I posted “The Truth about Down Syndrome Walks.” In that post, the truth shared was that Down syndrome walks can be overwhelming. And, they indeed can be for the reasons I mentioned in the earlier post. But here’s another truth:
Down syndrome walks are an awe-inspiring showing of support.
We’re now less than 24 hours away from our annual walk, and I must admit that I am eager with anticipation for tomorrow. This is something I could not have fathomed before our daughter was born.
Before then, I had occasionally participated in other charitable walks. My firm sponsors many of them and I would often come out as a show of support for our firm team. One year, my participation went beyond the call of duty by my entry into a “Dude Looks Like a Lady” contest for the American Heart Association’s Walk. I believe photographic evidence is still out there in cyberspace.
All of those walks were fun. There’s a crowd of people. Usually there’s a band or DJ playing music. Everyone is there to support a worthy cause. So, in that sense, Down syndrome walks are no different, because they have all of that and they are a lot of fun like all the other walks.
But, when you have a loved one with Down syndrome, it is a unique experience to participate in a Down syndrome walk.
I know, at least for me, I did not have the same combination of feelings participating in those other walks as I do for our organization’s annual event:
  • Gratitude for everyone who donated to your walk team, for everyone who donated for everyone else’s walk team, and for everyone who comes out to actually walk on the day of the event.
  • Awe-struck by the dozens, hundreds, and even thousands of people all coming together to show support for individuals with Down syndrome.
  • Joy at seeing the friends you have made in your local organization celebrating with their teams, and seeing your team members also being in awe of the showing of support and their own role in providing that support.
  • Humility that all of these people, across the span of your life, some who you barely interacted with or haven’t talked to in years or even decades–or even ever–contributing to you Walk team, giving you words of encouragement and wishing you success, and wanting to know how your loved one with Down syndrome is doing.
On the eve of our annual walk, having done this now for 10 years, I can already feel these emotions welling up as I get ready for our walk tomorrow. And, that is not anything I would have expected 10 years ago.
If you have the opportunity, I invite you to attend your local organization’s Down syndrome walk. And, if so inclined, donations are very much appreciated to my daughter’s team in all amounts as we are just $1,200 short of our goal. Feel free to donate in increments of $21 to signify the extra 21st Chromosome that is the cause of Down syndrome. Secure on-line donations can be made at this link.

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