When Christina Reaves' daughter was born with Down syndrome, she and her husband left the hospital without any support for new parents of children with Down syndrome.
“I was having a really rough time, kind of adapting to having a child with special needs, and I met some people that were connected with the North Carolina Down Syndrome Alliance,” Reaves said.
Reaves, now the executive director of the NCDSA, said that she felt much more secure once she was put in touch with other families in a similar situation.
“I was able to get that connection with the families that really knew what I was going through and that I didn't have to be on this journey alone,” Reaves said.
October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month, and organizations including the NCDSA are celebrating and promoting awareness through events and activities.
On Oct. 16, the NCDSA will be hosting its annual Triangle Buddy Walk. Donna Beckmann, the organization's advocacy and outreach director, said this year's walk will be held at the Jefferson L. Sugg Farm at Bass Lake Park in Holly Springs.
“The buddy walk is North Carolina Down Syndrome Alliance's largest event and fundraiser of the year,” she said. “We like to do it as a family fun day. There's typically activities for families to participate in throughout the afternoon.”
During the day, there will also be a "celebrity row" that features older teens and adults with Down syndrome who have businesses and hobbies to promote, Beckmann said.
She also said that NCDSA works year-round to break stigmas around having a child with Down syndrome.