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Annual DSACO Buddy Walk celebrates central Ohioans with Down syndrome

The walk at Fortress Obetz included games, music, Columbus Zoo character ambassadors and more.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Nearly 12,000 people showed up for the 21st annual Down syndrome Buddy Walk at Fortress Obetz on Sunday.

The walk helps create awareness for people with Down syndrome in the Columbus community. 

Down Syndrome Association of Central Ohio's CEO Kari Jones said the Buddy Walk is about awareness, inclusion and acceptance. 

"Our theme this year is that we are limitless. And we really believe that with the community rallying around and beside people with Down syndrome, that they really do have limitless opportunities," Jones said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately one in every 772 babies in the United States is born with Down syndrome, making it the most common chromosomal condition. About 5,100 babies with Down syndrome are born in the U.S. each year.

Credit: WBNS-10TV

Fiona, 4, was diagnosed with Down syndrome after she was born. 

Ava's parents found out before birth.

"Our kids, although they have Down syndrome, can bring so much to our lives, so they're doing great things throughout. They're in school now and they're hopefully going to grow and do great things," said Gabi Bachman, Ava's mother.

Sunday, Ava and Fiona walked with their loved ones to show that families with and without a member with Down syndrome deserve to be accepted and included.

"I think for both Fiona and Ava, they do a lot to open up. They're like social butterflies," Bachman said. "They'll give people hugs and wave and say hi to anybody, and I think as parents, that's really great because sometimes we are more shy not knowing what others might be thinking of us and our kids with Down syndrome, but they seem to have no cares."

Funds raised through the Columbus Buddy Walk will provide critically needed family support and services. To make a donation, click here.

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