Friday, September 14, 2012

Cate's Crusaders and the 2012 Buddy Walk

Because I'm too lazy to write a new post I'm just going to recreate the letter I sent out asking for support for this year's Buddy Walk but I do think that it summarizes my feelings about the Buddy Walk very accurately.  I basically sent this to every person in my email address book without taking the time to filter so I apologize if you have already been pelted with this letter!  But we love the Buddy Walk - Cate actually asks for it throughout the year and both girls love to wear their Buddy Walk shirts. 
Cate at 2010 Buddy Walk
Part of our team for 2011 Buddy Walk at start line

So here you go - this is what came to my mind last night as I deleted the very nice letter someone at the Down Syndrome Association had thoughtfully put together to be persuasive:

Our family has walked in the Atlanta Buddy Walk every year since Cate was born. I can still remember the discussion with Ric after we learned about the Buddy Walk in 2006. We just didn't know if we wanted to go to it. I will admit, I was scared by the prospect of going to an event where I would see so many people with Down Syndrome. By that time I was head over heels in love with Cate. I knew in my heart she was amazing, that she was beautiful, and that I would do anything I could for her. But we all grew up with the stereotypes of DS, even as I knew how amazing Cate was, I still had that lingering fear of what an adult with DS might be like. Did I want a real glimpse into that world while I was holding my sweet baby in my arms? What If we got there and I couldn't understand the young people with DS? What if what I saw made me fear for Cate's future? I am sad my past self had these doubts and fears but I don't think I'm alone in that internal debate.

So eventually Ric & I gathered up our courage, packed up our 9 month old little girl and headed to the Buddy Walk to face our fears. Do you know what we found? Not a group of people to be feared that is for sure. We saw the light, we saw the hope, we saw a very bright future. The families at the Buddy Walk were truly happy. They weren't putting on a brave face or making the best of it - they were living great lives. We saw adults and kids dancing, eating, and laughing just like at any community event or celebration. As I cautiously eavesdropped on the conversations around me, I found I could understand the young people with DS as they had completely normal conversations with friends and family and if even if I could get 100% of the words they were effectively communicating in other ways. The people at this event weren't just raising money for a cause, they were celebrating Down Syndrome. While I had accepted Cate's diagnosis, I had not come to a point where I was celebrating it so this was an interesting new revelation for me. It would take another year or two before I would celebrate Down Syndrome with them but as I watched Cate fight to learn to crawl, to walk, to talk I began to see why the Buddy Walk is more than a fund raiser. We do the Buddy Walk to show how proud we are of our kids and how wonderful we know they are as people. In the 6 Buddy Walks we've been too we've celebrated so many different milestones for Cate. In 2007 we were meeting up with friends of babies in our DS playgroup, in 2008 we had a little girl who could crawl, in 2009 Cate walked part of the Buddy Walk as a Big Sister, in 2010 she ran part of it as we chased her around the square, and in 2011 we actually had a team to walk with us that wasn't just family. This year we celebrate an awesome first grader, a great swimmer, a beautiful cheerleader – we celebrate that Cate is the perfect fit into our family.

Please consider sponsoring Cate's Crusaders in the 2012 Atlanta Buddy Walk. The DSAA is a big part of our DS community offering us so much like playgroups, mom's morning out groups, adult social activities, and support to some important organizations that we use like the Emory DS Clinic and GiGi's playhouse.

Just click on the Web site link below and visit my personal Buddy Walk page to make your tax-deductible donation.

Cate's Crusaders - 2012 Buddy Walk

Thank you for your support!

Here are some cute pics from the last two year's buddy walk:

daddy and Cate scoping out the dancers

look how little Lucy was!!!

2012 - Cate having fun walking

I love how big this t-shirt looks on Lucy just last year!

our dear friends walking with us

Lucy & Grandpa

Cate didn't actually want to wear the medal this year!

Lucy loved her medal!!

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