More than 4,000 people are expected to attend the Buddy Walk in Jacksonville Beach to raise money for the Down Syndrome Association of Jacksonville (DSAJ) next Saturday.
Jennifer Jones is a longtime participant in the Buddy Walk and the proud mom of Hudson Jones.
Saturday, Oct. 14 marks Duval County’s 21st annual walk, which begins at noon.
Hudson was diagnosed with autism before he was born, a life-changing moment during Jennifer’s pregnancy.
“It was shocking. It was pretty hard for us to take. But I remember one of my doctors said, ‘You know, Jennifer, you are living in the best city to raise a child with Down syndrome,’” Jones said.
Jacksonville is the only place in Northeast Florida and Southeast Georgia with a Down Syndrome Association chapter.
DSAJ assists families of those with Down syndrome from prenatal diagnosis, early intervention, the school-aged years, and throughout adulthood.
“He told me about the Down Syndrome Association. He told me about the Buddy Walk,” Jones said.
The DSAJ sponsors the Buddy Walk which raises money to support the lives of children, teens, and adults with Down syndrome in Jacksonville and surrounding communities.
“They do so much for us. They encourage us, they advocate for us, and they help us along the way. They have just been there from the beginning,” Jones said.
According to the CDC, 1 in 700 babies are born with Down syndrome.
This walk provides families with resources to navigate life just like everyone else.
You can sign up for the walk at DSAJ.org or register in person at the event.
Registration is $25 and includes a T-shirt.