Two Local Walks Support the Medical Community in a BIG Way!
In the month of October, our county’s expansive community of individuals with disabilities, parents and family members, friends and loved ones, recognized both Disability History & Awareness Month and National Disability Employment Awareness Month, as well as National Down Syndrome Awareness Month and Spina Bifida Awareness Month. We also acknowledged Mental Illness Awareness Week (Oct. 3-9) and World Cerebral Palsy Day (Oct. 6). Recognition months, weeks and days are a fantastic opportunity to raise awareness about important issues, policies and programs impacting our communities.
Two groups in particular deserve a huge, congratulatory (virtual) high-five for the awareness raising, community advocacy and outreach accomplished through their annual walk/run events in October 2021.
The Seattle WALK to END Hydrocephalus is a 5K run/walk held at Magnuson Park in Seattle. The walk brings together the regional community of people living with Hydrocephalus, their families, friends and caregivers, to connect, raise awareness and support the Hydrocephalus Association, a national advocacy organization.
Hydrocephalus is a neurological condition caused by an over-accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid in the ventricles of the brain. This build-up of fluid causes pressure on the brain, which can be fatal if untreated. Hydrocephalus affects over 1 million Americans, of all ages, due to a variety of causes. There is no cure for hydrocephalus, and the current treatment involves (often multiple) brain surgeries to ensure that the cerebrospinal fluid is able to drain from inside the brain. Learn more about Hydrocephalus at hydroassoc.org.
Every year, more than 14,000 people participate in a WALK to End Hydrocephalus at over 40 locations across the United States. The Seattle WALK is one of the largest of these events. Click here to view highlights from the 2021 event.
The 25th Annual Puget Sound Buddy Walk was held on October 10th at Downtown Bellevue Park. The annual event is organized by the Down Syndrome Community of Puget Sound.
Down syndrome occurs when an individual is born with an extra copy of chromosome 21. Down syndrome is the most common chromosomal condition. In the United States, one in every ~700 babies is born with Down syndrome. Learn more at ndss.org.
The National Buddy Walk® program was founded in 1995 by the National Down Syndrome Society as a way to celebrate Down Syndrome Awareness. Today, over 300,000 people participate in more than 250 Buddy Walks worldwide. The event is now, not only a public awareness program, but also an advocacy event for the Down syndrome community. The local Buddy Walk is the largest event of the year for the Down Syndrome Community of Puget Sound, a nonprofit organization working to empower people with Down syndrome and their families through education, outreach and community building programs.
Does your medical community or diagnosis-specific organization hold an annual walk/run to raise awareness? We would love to know more about it? Share with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Whitney Stohr is a Parent to Parent Coordinator at The Arc of Snohomish County. She is passionate about advocating for medically complex children and children with disabilities, and their families. She is a mom and medical caregiver herself, who is energized by working closely with other parent/family caregivers. She lives with her three-year-old son Malachi and husband Jason in Lynnwood. Connect with her online at email@example.com.