October is National Down Syndrome Awareness Month and the East Texas Down Syndrome Group (ETDSG), in affiliation with the National Down Syndrome Society, will host the Twelfth Annual Buddy Walk of East Texas on Saturday, October 12, from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at Teague Park in downtown Longview.
Down syndrome is a genetic condition that causes delays in physical and intellectual development and occurs in one of every 691 live births. It is not related to race, nationality, religion, or socioeconomic status. It is important to know that those with Down syndrome are more like others than they are different. While they do experience developmental delays, they also have many talents and gifts and should be given the opportunity and encouragement to develop them.
As the mother of a young son diagnosed at birth with Down syndrome and a member of the ETDSG, Paula Harshaw encourages East Texas friends, families, and neighbors to join the Buddy Walk effort to help raise awareness and funds in support of the vital work the organization provides. This heart-warming, fun-filled event celebrates the many abilities and accomplishments of people with Down syndrome.
In addition to her dedication to the ETDSG, Mrs. Harshaw is a volunteer for the Kilgore College Rangerette Museum and a member of the East Texas Human Resources Association. She is also very involved with vacation Bible school, Bible study fellowship, and the ladies alter society at Christ the King Catholic Church.
“Volunteering is an absolute must for me,” Mrs. Harshaw said. “My father was a Shriner and instilled [in me] an obligation and sense of pride in volunteerism. Being able to help others fills my heart and makes me a better person.”
Originally from California, Mrs. Harshaw has lived in Kilgore for eight years. She graduated from Iola Senior High School in Iola, Kansas, and earned her bachelor’s degree in human ecology from the University of Kansas in Manhattan, Kansas. She and her husband, John, have been married seven years and are the parents of son, Tripp.
If you would like more information on the on the East Texas Down Syndrome Group or the Buddy Walk of East Texas, please call 903-757-3516, or visit www.etdsg.org.