On Saturday, September 15th, 2018, at 9:18 am, Jane Josephine Canterbury experienced the first few seconds of her “fifteen minutes of fame.”
Jane’s picture (above), submitted by her parents, Tyler (my son) & Jen Canterbury, was selected to be shown on the HUGE screens in NYC’s Times Square as part of the National Down Syndrome Society’s (NDSS) 24th Annual NYC Buddy Walk. The NDSS Buddy Walk® in New York City is the flagship walk for the National Buddy Walk® Program. This event raises awareness and funds for programs that benefit people with Down syndrome and their families.
The NDSS, the leading human rights organization for all individuals with Down Syndrome, envisions a world in which all people with Down syndrome have the opportunity to enhance their quality of life, realize their life aspirations and become valued members of welcoming communities. To raise awareness, gain acceptance and promote inclusion of all people with Down Syndrome, the NDSS holds Buddy Walks and other events in over 250 cities across the United States.
Big Brother, Judah, in Times Square
Jen, Judah, and Jane Canterbury enjoying Central Park!
Jane cheering on the Buddy Walkers in Central Park
My husband, John, and I were blessed to be part of the 2018 NYC Buddy Walk and see our granddaughter’s face smiling out at the crowd in Times Square. After the inspiring photo show, we, along with almost 2000 other people with Down Syndrome, families, friends, and supporters, were bussed to Central Park for the Buddy Walk. There on the Great Hill, we met an incredibly friendly yet diverse crowd of people enjoying the beautiful summer day. We were able to talk to parents, grandparents, friends and families, all united to celebrate the people we love. Vendors provided free hot dogs, bottled water and cotton candy, children enjoyed having their faces painted — my grandson, Judah, was transformed into a PJ Mask, (whatever that is!) and playing carnival games. Seeing the huge crowd of strangers interacting like one big family was inspiring! For a few hours, boundary lines blurred as people of every race, gender, social class, political affiliation, religion, and background came together, united in a common goal of inclusion. The air was filled with music and laughter, people laughed and danced and played together despite disabilities and differences.
I urge you all to donate your time, money, and attention to the National Down Syndrome Society, and to look for opportunities to participate in events like this! Be part of the family and lend your efforts to the Inclusion Solution for Jane and for all individuals with Down Syndrome. You’ll be glad you did.