SIDNEY — The Miami Valley Down Syndrome Association will host its first-ever Walk Your Socks Off fundraiser, Oct. 15, from 3 to 5 p.m., at the Amos Community Center at Dorothy Love Retirement Community, 3003 Cisco Road.
Advance registration at www.mvdsa.org/sockwalk closes at midnight, Oct. 13. People can also register at the door. The fee is $10 per family.
“The walk itself is only about a half-mile long,” said organizer Jackie Ward, of rural Sidney.
The event comprises much more than the walk. Ward, Mary Topp, of Botkins, and Elizabeth Hart, of Minster, have coordinated actvities to make the day fun and informative.
There will be an appearance by Col. L.A. Thayer as Col. Sanders, a bounce house, face painting, pumpkin painting, and costumed superheroes to visit with children and families. Also, printed information will be available about the condition and what resources are available to families.
During an award ceremony, attendees with Down syndrome will be given T-shirts and medals. The ceremony will begin at 4 p.m. and the half-mile walk will follow at 4:15 p.m.
Ward said the name for the fundraiser alludes to a March recognition of support for people with Down syndrome.
“March 21 is World Down Syndrome Day,” she said. “For that, the community raises awareness by wearing crazy socks.” The socks invite conversation about the condition.
“So Walk Your Socks Off ties into that,” Ward said.
Organizers are excited to establish a fundraiser here. There are several programs that families with Down syndrome members can attend in Dayton and south of Dayton.
“But they tend to be overwhelming and not close-knit,” Ward said. “It’s really nice to meet someone my daughter would see in preschool or at a sporting event.”
The monies raised locally will be used locally. Proceeds from this inaugural event will be used to purchase items for welcome baskets to be given to parents in Shelby and surrounding counties who receive a new diagnosis of Down syndrome. The baskets contain information about what to expect, contact information of local families to talk with, lists of Miami Valley resources, books to share with siblings and items for the baby.
“They’re full of stuff to give parents a positive outlook. (The diagnosis) is hard enough,” Ward said. Hopes for the future include raising enough money for accessible playground equipment and teen activities in this area.
Reach the writer at 937-538-4824.