KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Hundreds showed up at World’s Fair Park Sunday for the 20th annual Buddy Walk. This event raises awareness and acceptance to those with Down syndrome.
WATE 6 On Your Side spoke to organizers about the event and families about what keeps them coming back.
There were bounce houses for kids, entertainment from the Sunshine Ambassadors, Powell cheerleaders and a variety of food and giveaways.
“We’re just basically out here to celebrate all of our friends with Down Syndrome and celebrate their different abilities we don’t like to focus on the fact of a disability,” said executive director Kelly Johnson. “Talk about the great things that they do and spend the day celebrating them.”
This is the second Buddy Walk for Johnathan and Melanie Fleury. Their entire family was behind them, cheering on their son Elijah.
“We really love today because it’s a chance that the community can come out and support not only our son but everybody’s kids we all want our kids to be excepted and loved today is just one special day for them,” said Melanie. “The back of our shirts say fearfully and wonderfully made because we believe that the lord made us exactly how we’re supposed to be and we take that and run with it and do our best.”
Johnson said they set a fundraising goal of $75,000 and they’re hoping to reach that go goal this year. The majority of the proceeds will stay locally for education, support programs and scholarship for people with Down Syndrome.