Sunday March 17th sees the launch of the fifth SL Buddy Walk in aid of Down Syndrome awareness and the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS).
First held in 2008, the SL Buddy Walk has become an annual event in the SL calendar, and has up until this year been a one-day event of music and fund-raising in aid of the NDSS. However, this year see the start of something a little different.
Running through until March 31st, and marking World Down Syndrome Day on March 21st, the SL Buddy Walk will once again feature a range of live entertainment and events, together with a chance to walk the SL Buddy Walk and learn more about Down Syndrome, the work of the NDSS and raise money in support of the Society’s work.
The event kicks-off on the 17th March, with the start of a two-week fair featuring a host of SL designers and creators, hosted in a specially designed region sponsored by Surreal Estates. All donations made during the fair will go directly to the National Down Syndrome Society, as will the proceeds of sales made through the special vendors displayed by by the participating creators and designers in their stores, with many creators opting to donate the proceeds of at least some, if not all, of their sales made through their fair stores /carts to the NDSS, regardless as to whether or not the sales are made via the special vendors.
Then, on the 21st March, to mark World Down Syndrome Day itself, there will be an all-day concert which will include performances by Tom Q, Colorful Quiet, Maximillion Kleene, The Follow, Porter Paquot, Noma Falta and Edward Kyomoon. The music kicks-off at 14:00 SLT. Keep up-to-date with entertainment announcements through the SL Buddy Walk blog. Donations made to the on-stage donation boxes will again go to the NDSS at the conclusion of this year’s Buddy Walk.
In addition, visitors to the region will be able to visit informational kiosks and boards where they can understand more about Down Syndrome and the work of the NDSS. The region is beautifully landscaped, and also offers places to meet friends and sit and chat, as well the two main fair locations and the stage and walk.
The motivating power behind SL Buddy Walk is JL Zinner, who has brought together a talented team to organise and run the event in Second Life. Her dedication to the work of the NDSS and to Buddy Walk is prehaps best expressed through her inspirational video Brandon is My Firework.
About the Buddy Walk and World Down Syndrome Day
The Buddy Walk® was established in 1995 by the National Down Syndrome Society to celebrate Down Syndrome Awareness Month in October and to promote acceptance and inclusion of people with Down syndrome. Today, the Buddy Walk® program is supported nationally by NDSS and organized at the local level by parent support groups, schools and other organizations and individuals.
Over the past fourteen years, the Buddy Walk® program has grown from 17 walks to more than 280 expected in 2009 across the country and around the world. Last year alone, 250,000 people participated in a Buddy Walk®! They raised $10.5 million to benefit national education, research and advocacy initiatives, as well as local programs. These funds enable NDSS and local groups to offer services that support and enhance the quality of life for individuals with Down syndrome and their families.
The Buddy Walk® is a one-mile walk in which anyone can participate without special training. It is a wonderful, heart-warming event that celebrates the many abilities and accomplishments of people with Down syndrome. Whether you have Down Syndrome, know someone who does, or just want to show your support, come and join a Buddy Walk® in your local community!
The World Down Syndrome Day was established in 2006 by Down Syndrome International, with the goal of raising awareness and mobilizing support and recognition of the dignity, rights and well-being of people with Down syndrome across the world. March 21, the 21st day of the third month of the year, was chosen to symbolize the third copy of chromosome 21 present in Trisomy 21, the most common form of Down syndrome.