A young boy, 15 years old, in Missouri has organized a Buddy Walk for his community as part of his Eagle Project for the Boy Scouts of America. Matt Jedlinski began planning in July for the walk. He states,”My mom’s best friend actually has a daughter with Down syndrome, so it really came to my attention. A lot of people around this area build something, but I’ve always wanted to do something different for my project. I really wanted to reach out and help people in the community.”
The Buddy Walk turned out to be a great success, much to Jedlinksi’s surprise. Jedlinski reports that the feeling inside is great and rewarding. Claire Watson, the president of Heartland Down Syndrome Association made it clear that the walk is not a fundraiser, it is only to raise awareness and build respect, writes the Southeast Missourian.
According to WebMD, Down syndrome is a genetic problem. It occurs before birth. The child with Down syndrome has specific features, such as a flat face and short neck, with slanting eyes, small ears, and a small mouth. The child may have weak muscles and loose joints. Below average intelligence is part of the syndrome. Sadly, children with Down’s often have heart, intestine, ear, or breathing problems.
There are certain risk factors that put a baby at higher risk for Down syndrome. A mother who is over 35, a father who is over 40, and a brother or sister with Down syndrome. A woman can elect to have certain tests during pregnancy to screen for Down’s. A simple blood test and an ultrasound can help determine the presence of Down’s. However, the blood test can give a false-positive.
Raising a child with Down syndrome can be a very rewarding experience. Oftentimes, these children are the most happy, loving children around. One can feel their contagious smiles, hugs and love for life. The Buddy Walk is an excellent way to raise awareness and bring attention to Down Syndrome.
Jenny Decker RN
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