GREAT FALLS — The annual Under The Big Sky Buddy Walk was held on Saturday in Great Falls.
The event was in the University of Providence's new Recreation Center at 2412 11th Avenue South; it was originally scheduled to be outside as in previous years, but the snow storm prompted organizers to move indoors.
Participants walked a mile inside the Recreation Center to raise awareness and encourage acceptance of those with Down Syndrome.
Families, friends, and students circled the room while CMR High School cheerleaders ramped up their spirits.
University of Providence students volunteered at the event as a way of expressing their school's emphasis on service.
Freshman and first time walker Fisher Richardson befriended a walker with Down Syndrome, holding her hand during the mile-long walk.
Richardson said, "We're here to participate in the event and try to get as much out of it as they are. so, just being able to fully immerse in the experience is important to the learning aspect of that.”
The Buddy Walk is a free, annual Great Falls tradition and will take place again next year.
From the event page on Facebook :
October is National Down Syndrome Awareness Month. The primary goal of the Buddy Walk® is to promote the awareness and acceptance of people with Down syndrome. Families and friends whose lives have been touched by Down syndrome will join members of our community in helping to raise awareness concerning the abilities people with Down syndrome possess. The Buddy Walk® has grown from 17 walks in 1995 to more than 330,000 participants raising $14.2 million dollars in more than 250 events across the country and around the world, which is used to support local programs and services, as well as national advocacy and public awareness initiatives of NDSS that benefit all individuals with Down syndrome.