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Local Parents Organize Buddy Walk to Celebrate, Highlight Down Syndrome in Local Community

Wednesday, October 13, 2021 @ 12:10 AM

Posted by Aly Delp

4upNEW BETHLEHEM, Pa. (EYT) – Several area parents have come together to organize a walk to highlight community members with Down syndrome and raise money for the Down Syndrome Association of Pittsburgh.

(Pictured above, left to right and top to bottom: local residents Keira, Donavan, C.J., and Willivene. All individuals pictured have Down syndrome.)

The Down Syndrome Association of Pittsburgh: New Bethlehem Buddy Walk will begin on Saturday, October 16, on the Redbank Valley Trail at Arch and Wood Street near Zack’s at 11:00 a.m.

According to co-organizer Kelly Smith, whose son C.J. has Down syndrome, the event was organized by four local parents of children with Down syndrome who wanted to celebrate and bring light to community members with Down syndrome.

Smith co-organized the event with Melissa Carlson (mother of Keira), Megan Murray (mother of Willivene), and Tracy Calhoun (mother of Donavan).

Smith said the idea of a local walk came about after last year’s Down Syndrome of Pittsburgh Buddy Walk went virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“My family usually goes to Pittsburgh for the event, but last year it was virtual because of COVID, so we got some family and friends together and had a walk of our own,” Smith told

She noted that afterward, she and the other three co-organizers got together and decided to make the walk an official annual event.

“We created this walk to shine some light on Down syndrome for the people in our area,” Smith said.

“We would like to welcome anyone who would like to join in and walk for this event.”

While they were organizing the event, they got in touch with the Down Syndrome Association of Pittsburgh for assistance with insurance and to make them the official recipient of money raised.

“This is kind of like a branch of the Pittsburgh walk, and all proceeds will go to them,” Smith noted.

The event itself is free and will include face painting, free cookies, and games with prizes for kids. There will also be a Chinese auction, raffles, and t-shirts for sale, with proceeds going to support the Down Syndrome Association of Pittsburgh.

The walk is three miles and is expected to last until approximately 2:00 p.m.

“People can walk, run, jog, ride bikes, or just come and celebrate with us. We really hope to have a great turnout!”

More information is available on the Down Syndrome Association of Pittsburgh: New Bethlehem Buddy Walk Facebook event page.


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