The Obec Fort walk included games, music, Columbus Zoo characters and more.

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Nearly 12,000 people showed up for the 21st annual Down Syndrome Friends Walk at Fort Obetz on Sunday.

The walk helps bring awareness to people with Down syndrome in the Columbus community.

Down Syndrome Association of Central Ohio CEO Kari Jones said the Friends Walk is about awareness, inclusion and acceptance.

“Our theme this year is that we are limitless. And we truly believe that with the community that has rallied around and around people with Down syndrome, they really do have limitless possibilities,” Jones said.

In accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately one in every 772 children in the United States is born with Down syndrome, making it the most common chromosomal disorder. About 5,100 children with Down syndrome are born in the United States each year.

4-year-old Fiona was diagnosed with Down syndrome after birth.

Ava’s parents found out before she was born.

“Our children, even though they have Down syndrome, can bring so much to our lives, so they are doing great things. Now they’re in school and hopefully they’ll grow up and do great things,” Gabby Bachman said. , Ava’s mother.

On Sunday, Ava and Fiona walked with their loved ones to show that families with and without Down syndrome deserve to be accepted and included.

“I think for both Fiona and Ava they are doing a lot to open up. They are like social butterflies,” said Bachman. “They hug people and wave and say hello to anyone, and I think as a parent that’s really great because sometimes we feel embarrassed, not knowing what other people might think of us and our children with Down syndrome, but they, they don’t seem to have any worries.”

Funds raised through the Columbus Buddy Walk will provide much needed support and services to the family. To make a donation, click here.