Oxford’s first Buddy Walk will take place on October 19 at Bailey Branch Park at FNC. Sponsored by 21 United of Mississippi, this event looks to attract participation from residents throughout Lafayette and surrounding counties.
“This is a family-friendly event that coincides with Down Syndrome Awareness Month,” says Jenny Rayner, president of 21 United. “Everyone is invited to join in on the fun, not just families who are directly affected by Down syndrome.”
Samuel Thompson is 15 months old. He has his mother’s blond hair, his father’s infectious laugh and his big sister’s adoration. He also has Down Syndrome.
“We did find out before his arrival that he was a Down Syndrome child,” said his maternal grandmother, Lynn Sloan of Oxford. “What upset me about that was not that he had Down Syndrome but that it stole a lot of joy from Mary and Scott in the pregnancy. Instead of being joyful, they were concerned: ‘What do we need? What will this bring? How are we going to handle it all?’”
21 United of Oxford, Mississippi (www.21united.org) is a new Down Syndrome organization started by local parents of children with Down syndrome. Bradley and Jenny Rayner, whose second child has Down Syndrome, began the group because they felt a need to bring the local Down Syndrome community together.
OXFORD – The inaugural event for 21 United, North Mississippi’s new Down syndrome support group, packed Bailey Branch Park with people and provided hours of fun and camaraderie.
Sunday afternoon’s Buddy Walk had Bailey Branch Park full of folks eager to learn about the genetic condition or, in some cases, to share what they’ve learned, along with seeing fire trucks and police horses up close, enjoying music and doing two laps en masse around the walking track.