Few things are more exhilarating than a walk in crisp fall air. If you’re going to be doing it, why not do it for a great cause?
Dust off your sneakers and join hundreds of other walkers on October 11 in support of the Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress. The 2009 MDSC Buddy Walk and Family Picnic will be held at Lake Quannapowitt in Wakefield.
Some other fall walks garner more publicity and national support (such as the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer, which I’ll be participating in that same October weekend), but that doesn’t make the cause less important. In fact, some would say, perhaps this walk deserves much more attention.
I’m sad to have already committed last year to the Avon Walk, or I’d be lacing up to join Team Lucy, a group of walkers organized by Boston Globe columnist Beverly Beckham, in honor of her granddaughter Lucy, age 6, who has Down Syndrome. Lucy is the daughter of Boston Herald columnist Lauren Beckham Falcone, a terrific writer, a great friend, and an inspiring mom. The team’s goal is to gather 100 walkers and raise $10,000 for the MDSC.
Raising a child is never easy under any circumstances, but the hurdles while raising a child with different needs, one that our world is sadly not always prepared for, must seem insurmountable at times. Lucy is the same age as Cooper. When Cooper was 15 days old, he was hospitalized for 2 days after contracting RSV (but rebounded quickly and soon grew rather fat while nursing around the clock). Lucy, meanwhile, underwent multiple surgeries to repair holes in her heart. I thought our hospital experience was scary — I can only imagine how Lauren and her husband Dave felt each time they took their baby back for more.
These days, though, Lucy is a healthy and happy kindergartner, surrounded by an adoring family and a supportive community. The local paper, the Canton Citizen, recently ran an article about the amazing residents.
At back-to-school time, our society refocuses on kids, encouraging their growth and learning, celebrating their successes and possibilities. This is the perfect time to also celebrate this amazing group of people — for being exactly as they are.