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South Seas to host ‘Buddy Walk’ to benefit children with Down syndrome

By Staff | Oct 8, 2009

On Nov. 7, South Seas Island Resort will host Southwest Florida’s Buddy Walk to raise funds to develop a summer camp for children with Down syndrome and other intellectual disabilities.

According to the resort village’s spokesperson Carolyn Hudson, this fall, more than 275 Buddy Walks will take place throughout the United States in an effort to promote understanding and acceptance of people with Down syndrome.

Buddy Walks raise funds to benefit national education, research and advocacy initiatives as well as local programs. The “South Seas Buddy Walk Weekend” will raise funds to develop a summer camp for children with Down syndrome, Autism and other intellectual disabilities at an existing camp site in Lee County.

Proceeds will also go to support the initiatives of the National Down Syndrome Society. For more information about NDSS, visit www.ndss.org.

The Buddy Walk Web site, www.buddywalk.org, states that last year, 250,000 people participated in a Buddy Walk, raising $10.5 million. These funds, according to the site, enable NDSS and local groups to offer services that support and enhance the quality of life for individuals with Down syndrome and their families.

For South Seas Island Resort’s managing director Rick Hayduk, Down Syndrome is a cause that is close to his heart.

“I’ve learned through my daughter just how extraordinary Down syndrome individuals are by observing their attitude and demeanor. They are blessed to keep life simple and remind us the meaning of true happiness and unconditional love,” Hayduk said of his four-year-old daughter.

“Jamison has touched not only our family, but so many of our friends who are excited to participate in the Buddy Walk.”

Hudson is one of those people.

“It’s natural for us to host the South Seas Buddy Walk Weekend. South Seas is recognized as one of Parent Magazine’s Top 10 Family Beach Resorts and this event fits our social and environmental responsibility mission. The fact that everyone knows Rick’s daughter only makes it that more meaningful and the support has been overwhelming.”

The 1.5 mile walk will begin at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 7 in Chadwick’s Square, located at 5400 Plantation Road.

The cost to participate is $20 for adults and $10 for children under 12. The fee includes a commemorative t-shirt and lunch from South Seas Island Resort’s barbecue restaurant Holy Smoke.

Participants will walk through the resort up Plantation Road and finish in the Yacht Harbour Marina where walkers will be met with music, bounce houses, food and advocacy and support information. Funds will be raised through registration fees and family and corporate sponsorships.

In addition, a special weekend package is available for participating families wishing to stay at South Seas during the event, with room rates beginning at $125.

If you are interested in participating in the South Seas Buddy Walk Weekend, please call 472-7565.