It's hard to believe that the Buddy Walk of Bergen County will celebrate its 10th Walk this year!
Our first walk in 2005 was beyond every expectation we had. The Hourihan family was fortunate to find a partner in the Wyckoff Family YMCA who had an equal interest in our special needs community. It has been a match that has proved fruitful beyond measure. We held the walk at Wyckoff Community Park. Four local restaurants provided free food. Around 300 walkers attended. To our surprise, not only did we raise over $70,000, but we planted the seed for an amazing event for years to come. A wonderful bonus, the Wyckoff Family YMCA established an outreach program for children with DS ages birth to 6 years – Billy's Buddies.
In 2009, for our 5th walk, the walk became so big that we outgrew the Wyckoff Community Park and so we moved to the Wyckoff Family YMCA campus. This move enabled us to have our walk become bigger and better! It also provided us with much needed assistance by the Wyckoff Family YMCA's army of volunteers.
We have been fortunate to have the Wyckoff and surrounding community restaurants donate great food for the lunch we provide for our walkers. From 4 food vendors in 2005 to over 20 vendors last year – what an amazingly generous group our food donors are!
In 9 years of walks, we have had over 80,000 participants walk to promote acceptance and inclusion for Down syndrome. Each year more walkers than the year before come to participate. Last year we had over 20 teams represented!
And we have raised almost $750,000 and we are proud to support the National Down Syndrome Society. We feel an obligation to also support Down Syndrome Research, Special Olympics and our local program, Billy's Buddies, as well as support any local community resident or family who needs our help.
Every year we have tried to make our walk more special than the prior year. Our 10th Anniversary walk should prove to be our best ever! We hope you will come walk with us!
"The Buddy Walk of Bergen County serves the communities of Northern New Jersey, closest to New York City, and people come from all over the state and metro-New York to participate. We hope to see you this October at the Wyckoff Family YMCA!"