Treyton’s Posse is headed to the Big Apple!
I received an email last week from the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) stating that the picture of Treyton I submitted was chosen to be included in their 2013 Times Square video. I hadn’t told anyone that I sent the picture in so I was able to pass on the news that not only did I submit a picture but it was also chosen. Now, we have purchased our plane tickets, reserved a hotel room, and received permission from the older girls’ swim coach to head to New York for the 2013 NDSS Buddy Walk on September 21.
This story starts four and a half years ago when God blessed us with a stinking cute little boy named Treyton. The kid is awesome and I have thousands of pictures of him. The fact that he came into this world with a little something extra (3rd copy of the 21st chromosome) meant that our family would be getting involved in some things that we would not participate in otherwise.
It was 2011 when the idea of Treyton’s Posse began; that was the name I gave to the group that joined us at our first Down syndrome walk which our local Down syndrome association (DSAWM) sponsored called “Step Up For Down Syndrome.” It was a big experience for us as it was the first gathering that my family attended strictly focused on that diagnosis/label bestowed upon our sweet Treyton. I am thankful for the family that joined us there as well as the generosity that was shown to our cause as we were able to raise $5,000 in donations.
Last fall was what I call our sequel. I went a step further and paid to have team shirts printed up for anyone that committed to join us at the walk. I had a good group of friends and family committed to walking with us but then the event was rained out. However, in a last-minute effort to salvage the walk there was a Facebook message stating that the association was going to try to have the walk at a local indoor shopping mall.
I had just finished making sure all of those individuals planning on joining us for the walk were notified that it was rained out when I saw that message. People had already started switching gears and it was not possible to get the entire crew to the mall so it was just the “OP” members that walked last year. By the way, “OP” is my attempt to be funny – it stands for Original Posse similar to what they call founding gang members – Original Gangsters. Lame, I know but I did make myself laugh. Also, despite the even being impacted by the weather Treyton’s Posse was once again able to raise $5,000 for the cause.
As late as the beginning of last week I had no intention of taking the family to New York City. In fact, we had decided not to take a vacation this summer as a way to save a little money. But, when I told my family the news they were a lot more excited about this than I had expected. I thought it was kind of cool but being the pragmatist that I am was quickly moved on to the more pressing matters. That did not last long.
Realizing the opportunity
When I received the email from the NDSS notifying me that Treyton’s picture would be included in the video I forwarded the message to Leigh Ann. When I walked in the door that evening after work I quickly realized how excited my wife and kids were. At that point I had to admit that it was pretty cool – for more than one reason.
Let’s face it; at its most simple level it is simply cool to have your picture up on the giant video screen in Times Square. Well, since it’s not likely that my picture will ever be up there I have found one more reason to live vicariously through my kids. I get to experience the next best thing when I see Treyton up there. But this is a lot bigger than that for us.
My family is excited about this. We are viewing this opportunity as a true celebration, it’s a big deal. There is no denying that fact that if it were not for Down syndrome we would not be involved with this. That is actually huge as far as I am concerned since the topic of Down syndrome is rarely, correction, never talked about in such positive terms around our house.
In addition to this celebration, the NDSS Times Square video event is giving us another reason to talk to others about Down syndrome. With the encouragement of the NDSS I put together a press release and sent it out to some of our local media outlets. By doing this I hope to create one more chance to talk about Down syndrome and the fact that every human being deserves the opportunity to realize his or her potential and not be held back by outdated stereotypes. I will keep you posted, so far I am scheduled for a 10 minute radio interview on Monday September 16 around 1:00 PM.
Down syndrome New York style
The Buddy Walk is an event that the NDSS developed as a means to raise money for Down syndrome and the organizations that serve the Down syndrome community. These walks take place all over the country but the flagship walk is held in New York City. The day (9/21/13) will begin with the Times Square video. To quote the NDSS, the video “reminds the world in a big way about the gifts that people with Down syndrome bring to their communities.”
After the video plays on Times Square buses will take participants to Central Park for the opening ceremonies and the actual walk. After the walk there will be live entertainment, a picnic, and fun activities in the park. It will be a lot of fun for everyone.
This is a great event that celebrates life with a focus on those with Down syndrome, the most common chromosomal disorder. I once thought that Down syndrome was something that impacted others and not me. Maybe you feel that way now. I was wrong and so are you. I also incorrectly believed that Down syndrome would be terrible – it may be challenging but it is not a tragedy. I want others to know that there is hope and joy to be experienced when your child is diagnosed with Down syndrome. Help me spread that message. Please consider making a donation and supporting Treyton’s Posse as we participate in the National Down Syndrome Society’s New York City Buddy Walk.