October is National Down Syndrome Awareness Month, and local organizers invite community members to participate in the 8th annual Under the Big Sky Buddy Walk Saturday, Oct. 7, to raise awareness and promote the acceptance and inclusion of people with Down syndrome.

The Buddy Walk is held at 11 a.m. at the University of Providence, formerly the University of Great Falls. 

Families and friends whose lives have been touched by Down syndrome join members of the community in helping to raise awareness concerning the abilities people with Down syndrome possess.

Since 1995, the Buddy Walk has become the premier advocacy event for Down syndrome in the United States. It is also the world’s most widely recognized public awareness program for the Down syndrome community.

The Buddy Walk has grown from 17 walks in 1995 to over 250 walks held in 2016. Nearly $14 million dollars was raised in 2015 to benefit local programs and services, as well as the national advocacy and public awareness initiatives of NDSS that benefit all individuals with Down syndrome.

Whether you know someone who has Down syndrome or just want to show your support, everyone is welcome at the Buddy Walk.

Organizers extend their gratitude to the following for their continued support of our walk each year: the University of Providence, Special Olympics Montana and Easter Seals Goodwill. Thanks to these and many other sponsors, there is no cost or fundraising necessary to participate in the walk.

Reach Tribune Staff Writer Traci Rosenbaum at 791-1490. Follow her on Twitter @GFTrib_TRosenba.

THE ESSENTIALS

What: Under the Big Sky Buddy Walk

When: 11 a.m….