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      Thousands walk to raise awareness and money for those with Down syndrome

      An estimated 1200 people participated in the Columbia Buddy Walk Sunday.

      COLUMBIA (WACH) ?? An estimated 1200 people packed Saluda Shoals Park Sunday to raise awareness and money for programs that benefit individuals with Down syndrome.

      The 13th annual Columbia Buddy Walk was expected to raise $50,000 for Family Connection, the event??s sponsor.

      Family Connection is a statewide nonprofit that provides support, education and resources to families of children with special health care needs. Officials say this walk is also a great opportunity to educate people on the challenges those with special needs face.

      ??It's a just a great way for families who have children with down syndrome to come together and see how appreciated they are in our community and to just really celebrate the accomplishments of their kids and have a day that's all about them, ?? said Seana McKee with Family Connection.

      Last year, the Columbia Buddy Walk was just as successful as is this year raising more than $40,000 to assist people with special needs