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What is the Buddy Walk?

The Buddy Walk® was established in 1995 by the National Down Syndrome Society to celebrate Down Syndrome Awareness Month in October and to promote acceptance and inclusion of people with Down syndrome.  Since its inception, it has become the world’s most widely recognized public awareness program for the Down syndrome community.

The Down Syndrome Association NWI is excited to return to a fully in person event in 2021!

This year’s walk celebrates the friendships made between individuals, among families, and in our community since 1987. The Walk Beside Me Buddy Walk will be held at the Lake County Fairgrounds in Crown Point, IN. on Sunday, October 24th.

We will kick off our 2021 fundraising efforts on August 8th at our Family Picnic at Zig-E’s Funland. See our events page to register to attend the picnic and learn more about fundraising opportunities.

There are many ways to help! Individuals can volunteer, register to walk, create and team and encourage others to join in the fun, create a fundraiser at your school, workplace or organization, spread the word via social media or by asking businesses to sponsor or create a team, help send out materials to organizations & businesses–or come up with ideas of your own and share them! Businesses are encouraged to create a Buddy Walk team, donate or sponsor the event, even have a table as a resource for the community at the Fairgrounds! Organizations can also have a resource table, create a team or help find ways to work together to support the individuals and families who benefit from sharing community resources. For more information or ideas, join us at Walk Beside Me Buddy Walk planning sessions on Wednesdays or call the office at (219)838-3656.

Buddy Walk Teams

Registration for the 2021 Buddy Walk start on August 15th. You will be able to create a team, share the link on social media and via email to invite others to register for your team or donate to support it. Plus, you will be able to order tshirts, invite businesses to create a team or sponsor our biggest fundraising effort of the year!

Request to Create a Buddy Walk Team

Create your Buddy Walk team and raise money through registrations, donations and sponsorships. The top 2021 fundraising team honoree will be the Grand Marshall of the 2022 Buddy Walk. The Grand Marshall will be featured in 2022 Buddy Walk materials and lead the 1 Mile Walk at the Fairgrounds!

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Register for Buddy Walk

Details on registration will be announced at the Buddy Walk Launch (and Family Picnic!) at Zig-E’s Funland on August 8th. Individual & family registration starts August 15th. Tshirts will be included with registration for individuals honored at Buddy Walk. Family & friends can buy Walk With Me tshirts on the website.

Thank you for your support!

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Become a Sponsor

Thank you for your interest in sponsoring the 2021 Buddy Walk benefitting the Down Syndrome Association NWI. Your sponsorship can be added to the fundraising efforts of an individual team or to the organization’s DSANWI Friends Team.

Know that your contribution of any size supports the programs provided to individuals and families throughout the region and south Chicagoland and is sincerely appreciated.

Available levels of support and opportunities for inclusion in the Walk Beside Me Buddy Walk on October 24th at the Lake County Fairgrounds:

Resource Table: Businesses & organizations are invited to have a resource table at the Lake County Fairgrounds the day of the Buddy Walk. The event draws several thousand walkers & supporters and is a great time to share resources with families. $50

Walk With Me Sponsor: For $250, your organization or business can be featured on a 24×18 yard sign along the path of the 1-Mile Buddy Walk.

Pal Sponsor: For $1000, your business or organization will be featured on a yard sign, plus be listed on our website as a supporter for 2021-2022.

Play Mate Sponsor: For $2500, your business or organization will be featured on a yard sign, plus be listed on our website as a supporter for 2021-2022. This level also adds your logo on the day-of Welcome banner at the Fairgrounds.

Side Kick Sponsor: For $5000, your business or organization will be featured on a yard sign, plus be listed on our website as a supporter for 2021-2022. This level adds your logo as one of two featured sponsors on the day-of Welcome banner at the Fairgrounds. Plus, your logo will be included on the back of the 2021 Walk Beside Me Buddy Walk tshirt.

Honoree Tee Sponsor: For $5500, your business or organization will be featured on a yard sign, plus be listed on our website as a supporter for 2021-2022. This level adds your logo as a sponsor on the day-of Welcome banner at the Fairgrounds. Plus, your logo will be featured on the top back of the 2021 Walk Beside Me Buddy Walk tshirt. Your donation will pay for the free tshirts provided to the individuals with Down Syndrome at the walk.

Friendship Sponsor: Add as other donation with details in the info form. For $10000, your business or organization will be featured on a yard sign at the Buddy Walk start/finish line, plus be listed on our website as a supporter for 2021-2022. This level adds your logo on the day-of Welcome banner at the Fairgrounds. Your logo will also be included on the back of the 2021 Walk Beside Me Buddy Walk tshirt. In addition, your logo will be added as a leaf on the donor tree at our Friendship Center in Schererville.

Please include your hi-res vector logo in a .jpg format to this form or email to [email protected] with the subject line: Sponsor Logo.

We hope you will join us the day of the event to witness the joy and friendship your gift helps make possible–or create a Buddy Walk team of your own to share in the fun!

  • Please choose your sponsorship level. For information on the perks included with each level, please see descriptions above.
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Become A Buddy Walk Volunteer

Coming soon

Order Buddy Walk 2021 T-Shirts

2021 Walk Beside Me Buddy Walk tshirts will be included in the cost of registration for individuals being honored at the event. Family members & friends can buy tshirts for $15-$20 (based on cost for size). Tshirts can be purchased through October 1, 2021.

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