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9 Advocates Share Why They're Attending the 2018 Down Syndrome Buddy Walk on Washington

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The 2018 NDSS Annual Buddy Walk® on Washington is a two-day advocacy conference, hosted by the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS), that brings the Down syndrome community together to advocate for legislative priorities that directly impact the lives of people with Down syndrome and their families. Advocates from across the country share their reason for attending 2018 Buddy Walk® on Washington — You should join them!

“I am coming to the Buddy Walk® on Washington because I support the achievements of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Advocacy, in my opinion, is important because it is the lifeline and backbone of the intellectual and developmental disability community.” –Charlotte Woodward

“I had been questioning whether I should attend the Buddy Walk® on Washington with my 2-and-a-half-year-old son who has Down syndrome. A friend of mine who works for NDSS said, it’s never too young for our self-advocates to start visiting the hill. I thought, who is she talking about? And then I realized, my son. It was empowering to realize that just his presence can make a difference, and exciting to think of the ways he can change the world through future self-advocacy opportunities as he develops his own voice and learns to speak his mind.” –Emily Mondschein

“We love coming and helping to be a voice for those individuals with Down syndrome and their families. Sharing our concerns and proposed legislation, meeting with officials and helping to put a face on these topics. And of course, catching up on the latest topics that are impacting our families, with other families.” — Karen Prewitt

“After being invited by NDSS to attend last October, we wouldn’t miss going back in April. For our family, it was an eye-opening experience. We were able to meet and get to know many families who not only say they want change, but who are actively working together with their children to create it. We realized we are not alone in our advocating efforts as we walked the street to each congressional office, alongside other families like our own. To see so many individuals with Down syndrome stand up for their rights was so inspiring and that’s what we want for our daughter, Olivia. I felt it was also important to include our Blessed by Downs self-advocate and Dan Piper Award winner, Sean Adams and his family in April. At our local Buddy Walk® we invited them to attend, all-expense paid. They accepted and will be attending with us in April. We feel the experience will give Sean the knowledge he needs to help our local community realize he is more than capable of being successful at anything he chooses to do in life, just like anyone else!” –Sheri Dupre DeFelice

“I believe that everyone should come to Washington, D.C. to touch lives and give hope, and not let anyone tell you what you can’t do. Show them what you can do.” –Ashley DeRamus

“The conference gives advocates a unique opportunity to gather and work on common goals.  The energy at the Buddy Walk® on Washington is contagious!  Walking through the halls of Congress and seeing other advocates is so uplifting. You truly know you are making a difference in the lives of individuals with Down syndrome by attending the conference.” –Ashley Barlow

“We’re planning to participate in the Buddy Walk® on Washington and Adult Summit this April, with a group of DSAGC staff, parents and self-advocates. There is power in numbers, and through attending this advocacy event with people from all over the U.S., we get meaningful access to D.C.-based legislators and their staff that we would not be able to secure on our own. I’m particularly excited that self-advocates Annie and Adam, who are both active in their communities and at their jobs, are part of our group. They are excellent advocates for the Down syndrome community.” –Mariclare Hulbert, Outreach Coordinator, Down Syndrome Association of Greater Cincinnati

“It’s exciting to be coming to Washington for the NDSS Buddy Walk® on Washington and Adult Summit and be able to meet with other advocates to share my choice for a residential option. I love living independently and following my passion of working at the State House in Boston as a Legislative Intern.” –John Anton

“I am attending because there is nothing more important than the future of my sons, both typical and with Down syndrome. I am but one voice, but it is my job as their mother to speak for them since they are still a bit young. One voice mixed with many other voices with the same determination can make a mighty big difference in the lives of individuals with Down syndrome and their families. I encourage others to join us for the 2018 Buddy Walk® on Washington. NDSS is a passionate bi-partisan group of individuals coming together to make our one voice heard.” –Traci LaGanke

Learn more at NDSS Annual Buddy Walk® on Washington.

Originally published: February 14, 2018
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