October 2012 marks the return of National Down Syndrome Awareness Month to the United States. Approximately 400,000 Americans have this genetic condition.
According to The National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) all people with Down syndrome experience cognitive delays, but the effect is usually mild to moderate and is not indicative of the many strengths and talents that each individual possesses.
Since 1995 NDSS has added to the annual celebration through the National Buddy Walk Program, which seeks to spread the NDSS mission on the local level with over 250 Walks expected in 2012. Last year, over 285,000 people participated in Buddy Walks throughout the country, raising over $11 million for local and national initiatives.
The Buddy Walk is supported by some great celebrities such as TV hosts Nancy O’Dell and Meredith Vieira and actors Chris Burke, Andrea Friedman and John C. McGinley.
“People with Down syndrome are capable of achieving and advancing in so many ways, they just need the opportunity. Thanks to organizations like NDSS, I see them getting that chance to share with the world the abundance they have to offer and I hope that opportunity grows every day,” says Entertainment Tonight Co-Host Nancy O’Dell, who stars in the National Buddy Walk video.
Also read: My Story: My Baby Has Down Syndrome