Thousands walk in Tempe for Down syndrome kids - East Valley Tribune: Tempe

Thousands walk in Tempe for Down syndrome kids

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Posted: Saturday, September 22, 2012 6:45 pm | Updated: 7:04 pm, Sat Sep 22, 2012.

Ask any parent, and they'll tell you raising a child isn't easy, but it can be especially tough on parents who have a child with Down Syndrome.

Caring for families and children with Down Syndrome is why thousands of people came out to Tempe Diablo stadium in Tempe on Saturday. Everyone went on a walk to raise money for the non-profit group Sharing Down Syndrome Arizona.

The event was massive, with dozens of fun activities for kids and participant.

None of it would have been possible without the tremendous help of organizer Gina Johnson. She started Down Syndrome Arizona more than 20 years ago.

Johnson knows what it’s like to have a child with Down Syndrome; her son has the condition. Every time a baby in Arizona is born with Down Syndrome you're sure to see Johnson there.

She delivers parent packages filled with DVDs, CDs, and books about the condition. Johnson also throws in a little something sweet to the pot.

"It's to educate, empower and give hope, but I give them chocolate and say, 'Whenever you’re sad, eat this, or call me and I’ll send more,'” Johnson sad.

For many parents, Saturday was their first walk. It was chance to share stories, and give each other hope, but most of all it was a time to celebrate the lives of their beautiful children.

“It's just about them and showing them how much we love them. How much we believe in them and find hope in them,” one random mother said.

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