Seventh annual Buddy Walk to return to an in-person event

Published 1:22 pm Tuesday, October 12, 2021

After last year’s hiatus caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Oxford’s annual Buddy Walk is set to return on Oct. 17 at the Old Armory Pavilion. Sponsored by 21 United of Mississippi, this event attracts participation from residents throughout Lafayette and surrounding counties as well as from outside the state of Mississippi.

“Canceling last year’s event was heartbreaking because this is such a fun event for our community,” said Jenny Rayner, president of 21 United. “All of our in-person events in 2020 were canceled, and this is the first time since the 2019 Buddy Walk that we are able to see our friends from throughout the region.”

The Sunday afternoon event will start at 2 p.m. DJ Sammy Kim will again provide music. Medal presentations and the walk are scheduled for 2:30 p.m. In addition to the walk, the event will include food and beverages, a magic show, face painting, fire trucks, kids’ games and a t-shirt for all participants.

Walker registration is $15. Buddy Walk friends with special needs may participate for free. Participants are encouraged to pre-register online at ds-stride.org/21unitedbuddywalk. A link to registration can also be found on 21 United’s Facebook page.

“This pandemic even took away our annual summer camp for our Down syndrome families,” said Rayner. “Our plan is to bring back our camp and other programs stronger than ever, and the Buddy Walk is our funding tool that makes these events possible.”

Created by three Oxford families, 21 United of Mississippi is a nonprofit organization that advocates for the inclusion, value and acceptance of individuals with Down syndrome. Proceeds from the Buddy Walk are used for new parent packets, educational meetings, networking events and camp scholarships.

Sponsors for this event are needed, and opportunities exist for businesses and individuals who wish to generate goodwill. To learn more about sponsorship levels, contact Jenny Rayner at 662-380-0577 or jennyrayner@gmail.com.