Down syndrome children raise $200,000

Down Syndrome Association of South Texas celebrates 19th annual Buddy Walk

SAN ANTONIO – Thousands showed up to the River City Community Church on Saturday morning dressed in orange. The Down Syndrome Association of South Texas hosted its biggest fundraiser to help provide free help and programs to children with Down syndrome and their families. This year marks the 19th annual Buddy Walk in South Texas, which was made possible through a small group of dedicated parents.
Belinda Hughes is the mother of Richie Hughes, 19, who was diagnosed with Down syndrome hours after he was born.
"There wasn't a lot of positive information out there or information to teach us what to do to make him successful in any way at all," Hughes said.
Over the years, the group of parents held events with topics ranging from health and development to local resources, but the parents also wanted to socialize. Their social hour included pushing their strollers around the park.
"Then we realized, hey, you know, other towns, other cities have a buddy walk. Let's try to do this," Hughes said.
Nineteen years later, the Buddy Walk in South Texas has grown to over 5,000 participants. Participants can join a team to raise funds. This year, more than 210 teams registered and raised over $200,000 in benefit of the nonprofit organization. The money raised goes toward the Down Syndrome Association of South Texas' free or low-cost events for individuals with Down syndrome and their families.
Hughes hopes many more will join their mission to continue raising awareness of and inclusion for children and adults with Down syndrome.
"Once you realize what a blessing it is, you will be so grateful that your baby was born with Down syndrome," Hughes said.
Click here to learn more about the Buddy Walk at the Down Syndrome Association of South Texas' website.