continued With the help of the DSA of CNY, as well as a number of other support organizations, David Bottego, now 24, has developed into an independent, well-rounded young man.
“He has a self-determination program in which he is decides what he does every day,” his mother said. “Through the agency that helped us set up this plan, we have hired two individuals who take my son to where he needs to be. He volunteers in his community, takes classes, exercises daily, works on life skills and socializes with his friends.”
The Buddy Walk
The DSA of CNY offers a number of activities for families of those with Down syndrome, but its biggest event — and the only one it offers that’s open to the entire community — is the Buddy Walk, which celebrates its 15th year this fall.
“At our Buddy Walk, we do not focus on the therapies, doctor appointments, etc., that is a part of their daily life. We celebrate the joy of having them in our lives and family,” Bottego said. “Most of the committee members have worked on the Buddy Walk from the beginning. We have volunteers who come back year after year because it such an uplifting event.”
The Buddy Walk will take place on Sunday, Sept. 29 at Long Branch Park in Liverpool. Registration starts at 9:30 a.m.; walkers who have pre-registered can pick up their preordered shirts. Walk-in registration is also available. T-shirts are available to purchase. Children’s games are open from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and only shut down while the walk is in progress. Attendees can purchase raffle tickets The walk starts at 10:30 a.m. The walkers follow the path out of the Longbranch Park area into the Willow Bay section of Onondaga Lake Park.
The Buddy Walk was established by the National Down Syndrome Society in 1995 to celebrate Down Syndrome Awareness Month in October and to promote acceptance and inclusion of people with Down syndrome. The event has grown to be the world's largest and most recognizable Down syndrome awareness program, with more than 250 walks taking place in all 50 states as well as all over the world. Each year 295,000 walkers collectively raise about $11.75 million, which is used to support local programs and services as well as national advocacy initiatives.