Why I walk

Tomorrow is Savannah’s Buddy Walk.  We have frequently bragged about our local group, the Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society, and the terrific job they do with awareness in the Savannah area.  I am amazed that after only 5 years, they attract 3,000+  (will it be 4,000 this year?) to the Buddy Walk.  It really is something to see.

Brooke did a count last night and we have 97 people signed up for the J-Walkers.  I suspect it is actually higher than that.

WOW!

As Jonathan grew up, I always wondered how he would be received by others.  Would friends drift away because it was too uncomfortable to be around a child with special needs?  (How ignorant I was!)  What I have learned is that to know Jonathan is to love him.  He simply charms everyone he meets and makes friends where ever he goes.  Our headcount at the walk is but one data point.

But it’s not just Jonathan.  Nearly all the children–and adults–with Down syndrome I meet have a wonderful view on life, have a wicked sense of humor, and want what we all want: to be respected, to be happy, to work, to impact the world in a positive way.  They are a joy to know.

I read this editorial last night and it captures so eloquently why parents feel so strongly about the use of the R-word.  Every time it is heard it reminds us that our children are in a category that is not respected and valued.  Its unchallenged use allows society to continue to demean people who need our help, but instead are ridiculed.

I imagine that if any one of the 97 J-Walkers heard someone with intellectual disability referred to a re**rd, they would gently grab their arm and say, “That’s not right.  Please don’t use that word.  These children of God deserve our love and help, not our ridicule.”

So this is why I walk.  Because once you know Jonathan or any other child with Down syndrome, you can’t help but become an advocate.

Thank you to all you J-Walkers, and to everyone else who walks.

Leave a comment.  We’ll give away another Deedah to a random commenter.  If you can’t think of what to say, leave the name of the Buddy Walk team you joined, or leave the name of your home town.

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16 Responses to Why I walk

  1. Kristin says:

    Love you guys, thanks for being such wonderful, optimistic promoters!! See you in the Park tomorrow…go TEAM THOMAS ; )

  2. tori andrews says:

    Jonathan will always be the “life of the party!” He has one of the
    Sweetest smiles around! GO TEAM JWALKERS! Can’t wait to celebrate
    an awesome kid!

  3. Myrna says:

    Why I walk???? Well I walk in honor of my princess Daniela, this will be our 4th Buddy Walk and I can’t wait to be there it’s so nice to be around 3000 or more people that understand and respect our children, I’m so thankfull to be able to teach people about Down Syndrome we have 55 friends in our team this year that are register but I know it will be more at the park.
    Daniela has change our life in a amazing way she has so much love to share!!!!!

  4. Bobby Thanepohn says:

    Jennifer, myself and the children are very excited and look forward to being a part of the J-Walkers Team!
    It is hard to put into words (I lack the eloquence gene) and explain how deeply grateful I am to you for sharing Deedah with the rest of the world and striving to make that world a bit of a better place for all of our children so a deeply heartfelt “thank you” will have to suffice.

  5. Elissa Lindsey says:

    Our first Buddy Walk is this weekend, and I love that it is bringing together family and friends united in their love and support for our daughter!
    Abbie, 5 months old, raised over 3,000.00 in her honor for Abbie’s Army, Georgetown, Texas

  6. My great niece has her own group, they are AVAs ANGELS. She is a precious child. Even though I dont get to see her as much as I would like, I love her. Her mom and dad and other aunt is very involved with the Buddy Walks and have been for years.
    Great work and great job on behave of all of Gods precious angels. I hope all of you have a great day. Have fun everyone!!!!!!

  7. How amazing. If I didn’t live so far away you bet I’d be a J-Walker! It’s going to be an amazing time and I hope Jonathan and everyone has an incredible time!

    -Lindsey

  8. Cindy Harrison says:

    You’re right on about the *r word. It gets under my skin every time I hear someone refer to a ‘goofy’ friend as that. If I know the person, I quickly set them straight, and they usually apologize and say they never thought about it that way before. People simply don’t think… I know they mean no harm, but that’s how far the *r word has gone to being freely used.
    I walk because of my son, Ryan. He is one of four precious gifts God has blessed me and my husband with. He has Down Syndrome, Autism and Cerebral Palsy. Go Team Ryan!!!

  9. Wendy says:

    Why do I walk? Because of my precious Kristen. It’s difficult to believe this is Buddy Walk #5 for the LDSS. We had no idea how awesome this event would be when we planned the first one 5 years ago. Wow–were we shocked when people just kept coming and coming. For me, the significance of that day probably ranked up there with marriage and the birth of all 3 of my children. To see the love shown to our special kids was almost more than I could bear. I know tomorrow will be another great day. I can’t wait!!! May the 5th year be even more awesome than all of the years before. Go Kristen’s Krew!!!

  10. Veronica Navarro says:

    have a great walk.

  11. Veronica Navarro says:

    I am from San Mateo CA. I have CP and NVLD

  12. christy leclair says:

    We were a proud part of Aidan’s Angels….I was holding Aidan when those cute
    pics of him and Jonathan were taken…what a wonderful day, a class act!

  13. Veronica says:

    how did it go today

  14. Dee Harriott says:

    The Buddy Walk was, to use Jonathan’s favorite word, AWESOME! I walk because Jonathan, Joshua, and Whitley have a very special place in my heart. Their bright smiles, determination,and loving hearts inspire me to be a better person. I feel blessed to be a part of their lives.

  15. Jen says:

    Our team, Cameran’s Crew, walked in our 2nd Buddy Walk two weekends ago in Dover, PA. Cameran is my daughter, she is 19 mo, and has Ds. I just recently blogged about our walk @ http://www.lovingpeanut.blogspot.com

    As a 7th grade educator, I hear the r-word on a daily basis, and take the time to point out why it is inappropriate to use. Some students “get it” and others don’t. It is extremely frustrating, but I feel it is my job as mother, teacher. And advocate to continue pointing out the hurt this word causes.

  16. Veronica says:

    Does writeing more comments incresse one chance of wining on here I hope so

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