Advocacy walk raises awareness
By Chris Fish
BREVARD - Brevard County is encouraged to "Step Up" for county residents living with Down syndrome on Saturday, Nov. 3, for the 10th annual "Step Up For Down Syndrome Advocacy Walk."
The event will feature a 1-mile walk and will include face painting, pony rides, Brevard Zoo animals and crafts. It is designed to raise awareness of Down syndrome, while at the same time, raising awareness to help pay for treatments for the condition that are not covered through Medicaid.
"Every year, we have more people in the community coming out and supporting the cause," said Pat Wright, organizer of the event. "And, every year, we raise more money to support the families. We have a lot of community support from employees and church groups, and they cheer the kids on and help raise awareness for the cause."
Ms. Wright said the event raised $30,000 in pledges and sponsorships last year.
The event will take place at Riverfront Park in Cocoa Village from 8 a.m. to noon, and anyone from Brevard County can join the event.
Currently, Ms. Wright said she is anticipating about 600 people in attendance. The event is targeted at individuals with Down syndrome, as well as their families, friends, neighbors, teachers, co-workers and other supporters.
Ms. Wright said the money raised by the event will help promote acceptance and inclusion of people with Down syndrome, and it will also help children with Down syndrome get the special attention that he or she may need.
"If a child wants to participate in horseback riding, we help them because that is a form of therapy that wouldn't normally be covered by Medicaid," she said.
Those who collect $15 or more in pledges will receive a free T-shirt and participate in a 1-mile advocacy walk along the Indian River.
Registration begins at 8 a.m. at Riverfront Park in Cocoa Village, and the event will end at noon. A minimum of $15 in pledges is required to participate.
For more information, and to learn how to create your own fundraising page, visit FEDSofBRevard.org.
To volunteer for the tenth annual Step Up For Down Syndrome Advocacy Walk, call Pat Wright at (321) 591-4425.