We are less than one month away from kicking off our 321 mile adventure! We will be hosting our kickoff event on World Down Syndrome Day, March 21st, with our partner, the Down Syndrome Guild of Southeast Michigan, at Drake Sports Park located in West Bloomfield, Michigan at 5:30 p.m.
And YOU are invited to join us! We will be walking two miles. Mile #1 will be for Parker – our first friend who allowed us to dedicate a mile to him! Mile #2 will be dedicated to Chelsea Werner, a 4X Special Olympics Champion & a 2 X World Champion.
The kickoff event is posted here on Facebook.
Andy and I are looking forward to putting everything into action after weeks and weeks of planning.
Although, I will admit – this is an ambitious project for us. We are two people who work full-time who have never done anything like this. We will be walking our miles after work and on the weekends over three months. But I find that sometimes the only way to really make a difference and get someone’s attention about something you really care about is to do something so different and so out of the norm that it can’t be ignored.
Our sole purpose for our 321 mile adventure is to take what we have learned through our own journey and raise awareness and educate others about Down syndrome. We went through a life-changing experience on many levels. We want to impress upon others that although someone else may look different from you, there is nothing to fear. We are all different in some way or another. And we need to embrace those differences – not judge them.
But there are also similarities too. I think one of the reasons individuals are fearful or not sure how to react when they see someone with Down syndrome is because they don’t have an opportunity to see lots of individuals with Down syndrome on a daily basis. So instead of also seeing the similarities, they only see the differences. We were in this category a year ago, before we learned our son Jensen had Down syndrome.
That is why it is our goal to saturate our Facebook and Twitter news feeds with pictures and stories about individuals with Ds. This 321 mile journey allows us to do that – it allows us to get these beautiful faces out there for all to see. (Side note: along these lines, I am so incredibly happy to see more individuals with Down syndrome included in advertising. If you haven’t read about the Changing the Face of Beauty campaign, you should!)
We are making good progress on dedicating miles to 321 individuals. But, we are still looking for about 100 more individuals that we can dedicate a mile towards. Please help us get the word out! We want our journey to reach people far and wide so it can have the greatest impact.
Interested individuals can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with a picture of their loved one and three to five things that make their loved one smile.
For those who want to help us, but don’t know how, here are a few things you can do:
- Share and like our posts here on our blog or on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Get the word out about our journey!
- Donate to our Crowdrise Fundraising page to become a Smile Sponsor (all funds go to the Down Syndrome Guild of Southeast Michigan). Any amount is appreciated.
- If you are local, come join us on one of our walks (to be posted soon)
We thank you all for your love and support and can’t wait to begin this journey with you cheering us on!
6 thoughts on “321 Miles for 321 Smiles Kickoff Event”
Will you be walking near Kalamazoo, Michigan and when? I surely would like to meet you or help in any way I can.
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Hi Barbara. Yes, we will walk near Kalamazoo. I am thinking a weekend in May sounds nice! We will let you know. 😀
Wonderful! Looking forward to meeting up with you. I have Psrkinson’s Disease, but will bring friends so we can walk a mile in honoring Jensen.
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That sounds wonderful Barbara. We are looking forward to meeting you as well. Thank you for being so supportive 😊
How can we get involved? Our 5 year old son, Charlie has Ds.
Hi Colleen! We would love to dedicate a mile to your son Charlie as part of our walk. If you are interested, please send an email to us at email@example.com along with 3 to 5 things that make him smile.