Walk, picnic, petting zoo raises money for Down syndrome awareness

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - It's time to step up for Down syndrome.

For the 20th year, people will gather in Memphis to raise money and awareness for those living with Down syndrome.

A 1-mile walk will also include family picnics, petting zoos, and other team activities.

The event is set for Sunday at 11 a.m. at Christian Brothers University. Registration is $10 at the gate.

What started with 60 people two decades ago has now become the largest disability awareness walk in the Mid-South with nearly 5,000 participants.

This year, families are hoping a special invited guest with lead the way.

"We were just kicking around different thoughts and thought we need to do something really spectacular for the 20th Step Up Walk," said DSAM Executive Director Martine Hobson. "And Justin Timberlake is from Memphis, let's see if he happens to be in the neighborhood, and if he'll come by and lead our walk. Wouldn't that be incredible?"

Over the last 20 years, the Step Up For Down Syndrome Walk has shown the community that people with Down syndrome are accomplishing amazing things every day.

"It's a huge picnic lunch, all kinds of carnival games and children's games," Hobson said. "It's a fun walk and like a stroll through the campus of Christian Brother's University."

Jewel was born last October, which is Down Syndrome Awareness Month. She's WMC Action News 5's Jerica Phillips' daughter. This year, Jewel will be part of the walk.

"We received Jewel's diagnosis during pregnancy and the resources we gained through the Down syndrome association have been incredible," Phillips said.

The walk is an opportunity to teach the world about inclusion one step at a time.

"Because when you get to know someone with Down syndrome, you find they're much more alike than different," Hobson said.

Click here to learn more about the event.

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