Sunday, October 24, 2010

We Wear the Yellow & Blue

Today was the day.  The big buddy walk for the chromosomely-enhanced and their friends, family, and supporters.  Today we were 33 bears strong and after Friday's special Buddy Bear Playdate fundraiser, we had raised over $1,800 for the cause!  I cannot express my gratitude enough and the tears of joy keep flowing.  Andrew and I thank you dearly for all of your support.  The money raised in both registering for the walk and in monetary donations will be used locally (as in Central Texas) for people with Down Syndrome and their families.  The Down Syndrome Association of Central Texas [DSACT] is working towards school inclusion, developing post-secondary education, family assistance & support, lobbying towards bills that will prevent funding cuts towards those with special needs, and promoting Down Syndrome awareness.


The Ellie Bears--this is only ~ HALF of our team!
Visit the DSACT website for a picture of most of our team. . .it should be posted soon.


Over the past couple of day I have taken well over 50 photographs.  For those who are facebook users, you can see my album from the Buddy Bear Playdate as well as today's Buddy Walk album.  If any of you do not have FB and would like to see even more photos (I am a little camera happy), please email me.


I made this one-of-a-kind "Designer Genes" shirt especially for the Buddy Walk.  Ellie Bear had it on for only 5 minutes before she spit-up all over it.  At least I got pictures :-)

The walk too place at the Reunion Ranch in Georgetown, TX.  My MIL Dunja, SIL Michele, and niece Haleigh came down from the Plano area especially for the walk.  Our friends, neighbors, and some of my mothers' group buddies also came for the walk.  All week storms were threatening to rain on our parade but we were blessed with sunny skies and 90 degree weather.  Yes, I wrote 90 as in 9-0.  As in really really really hot at the end of October hot.  There were great festivities for the whole family--paddle boats, playgrounds, ring toss, ponies, silent auction, bake sale, bouncy house, volley-ball, soccer, face painting, live music, and even fun with the Georgetown fire truck and air-flight-star rescue helicopter.  I imagine that when Ellie is a bit older, she will never want to leave.  There were also some cheerleaders doing routines there so I am sure the men will not want to leave either.


The Ellie-Bear Charriot 




Michele & Haleigh

Today there were many emotions going through my mind.  My first was, "Ellie is not alone.  There are others here similar to Ellie."  You know, in the world, 1 in every 733 live births is a child with DS.  Since I have lived in Austin, I have seen only one other person with DS.  One.  It certainly doesn't feel like 1 in every 733.  Some of it could be because in the United States, (I know you have heard me say this before and I will say it yet again) 92% of Americans abort a child diagnosed with DS.  

The other thought that went through my head today was, "hardly anyone here has DS!".  It was both a startling, yet exciting observation.  Just think about how over 30 people came to support the Bear-Bear.  If every person with DS had that big of a support system. . .Acceptance.  Love.  Support. Hope.


  Ellie kept putting the ball into her mouth 1st and then dropping it through the hole.


She got a prize!  A Bear :-)

After a few a hours of fun and games, it was time to walk around the entire ranch.  The walk itself was huge.  There was a traffic jam involving strollers.  I tried to snap pictures throughout and it was neat to see just how many people were 1. in The Ellie Bears, and 2. were walking for the cause.  



It was also amazing because there were many volunteers scattered throughout the walk.  Some were high school cheerleaders, some were longhorns, and others were firefighters (sigh). How wonderful it was to witness the community being a part of something big and meaningful.  When we would walk by they would shout "Yay!!!!  The Ellie Bears!!!!  Yay Ellie!!!!"  Loved it!


James Fowler, Ellie, Gma Dunja

This is James Fowler.  He is a very talkative 39 year-old public speaker & political activist.  He lobbies and attends political meetings with senators in hopes of maintaining the current funding for programs with those who have special needs.  Ellie wanted to eat his glasses. 

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