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Statewide Buddy Walk Program

Important Links and Documents

Donate to 20th Buddy Walk & Family Festival
 Donate to 4th Annual Buddy Walk & Harvest Fair

Promoting Acceptance and Inclusion  


Buddy Walk & Family Festival 
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The MDSC Buddy Walk® Program gives individuals, schools, community groups, and local businesses across the state an opportunity to get involved in fundraising campaigns and events year-round, all intended to promote the acceptance and inclusion of people with Down syndrome. 

The statewide campaign is anchored by our signature Buddy Walk & Family Festival. It also includes major and minor events throughout Massachusetts, such as Buddy Walk by the Sea on Cape Cod, the Buddy Walk & Harvest Fair in Central Massachusetts, a number of school fundraisers, Buddy Bucks Store campaigns, and other fundraisers endorsed by the MDSC.

20th Anniversary Walk - 

It's hard to believe that it's been 20 years this October that a handful of passionate parents gathered at Lake Quannapowitt in Wakefield to connect, share and create awareness about the many contributions people with Down syndrome bring to the world. 

Those families planted the seed of what today has become the largest gathering of the Down syndrome community in New England. What is now the MDSC Buddy Walk & Family Festival may look very different from those early days, but the goal remains the same - to promote full acceptance and inclusion for all individuals with Down syndrome throughout their lifespans.

Will you join us on this special 20th Anniversary Buddy Walk on Oct. 9 to give honor to those who came before us and to pay it forward for the many new families the MDSC welcomes every day?

This past year alone, we provided support to 157 new and expectant families. These families are counting on us to push the envelope every day to ensure that their loved ones with Down syndrome have every opportunity to lead a meaningful fulfilling life.

Funds raised by the MDSC Buddy Walk and Family Festival go toward critical programs and services including:

Parents First Call, Advocates in Motion (AIM), Self Advocate Advisory Council, Educator's Forum, Educator's Manual, Annual Conference, Legislative Advocacy on a state and national level, Allen Crocker Self Advocate Internship Program, Your Next Star Employment Campaign and so much more. 

All of these programs have directly led to better lives for people with Down syndrome in Massachusetts and beyond. Join us and be a part of the warmth and determination of our community. 


John TuckerHelping us celebrate this occasion, the MDSC welcomes special guest John Tucker (aka "JT") from the emmy-winning series Born This Way. JT will meet and greet fans and sign photos before the walk and will kick off a dance "after party" following the walk around beautiful Lake Quannapowitt. 

Also providing entertainment will be PBS' popular singer-songwriter SteveSongs. FOX25 News Anchor Heather Hegedus will emcee. The event also includes complimentary snacks and refreshments, arts and crafts, balloon artists, face painting, and much more family-fun activities! 

Start a team., Join a Team, Sponsor a Walker, Be a Virtual Walker, or Sponsor the walk here

#iBelieve Theme

The concept of believing relates to virtually everything we do. 

  • We BELIEVE that new and expectant parents should have access to the latest, most accurate information about  Down syndrome - which is why we’ve greatly expanded our Parents First Call Program. We served 157 new parents this past year along and through replication now in 13 states thousands of others. 
  • We BELIEVE that people with Down syndrome deserve to have access to the best education possible and we work hand in hand with parents, educators, and school systems to ensure they have the best practices and tools they need to provide a high quality education for all our students. 
  • We BELIEVE that people with Down syndrome deserve good jobs that allow them to earn money – and last year we launched a new employment campaign, Your Next Star, to open the eyes of employers to the power of people with Down syndrome in the workplace. 
  • We BELIEVE that people with Down syndrome have a right to self-determination and access to supports no matter what their age – that’s why we have self-advocates leading the way at the MDSC, planning activities for adults and for the very first time this year, hosting an exclusive Adult Conference in collaboration with the MA General Hospital Down Syndrome program. Over 150 people attended this inaugural gathering last fall. 
  • We BELIEVE in tackling the most significant challenges facing our loved ones with Down syndrome - which is why we fight for systemic changes on a State and National level that create a system that is flexible and gives choice and control to individuals and their family members.     Ultimately, we BELIEVE that each person with Down syndrome should be honored as the individual he or she is and for the immeasurable value they bring to the world.

We will carry this theme of empowerment through our three Buddy Walks around the state in 2016. By participating in one of Buddy Walks this year, you will help support the kind of work that allows us to say in 2016 that #iBelieve.


The Buddy Walk is an advocacy initiative launched in 1995 by The National Down Syndrome Society. It serves as a vehicle to generate significant awareness and understanding of Down syndrome nationally, while simultaneously raising critical funds to support local programs and services offered by The MDSC. As a proud affiliate of The NDSS, a portion of all proceeds from Buddy Walk campaigns go to support national advocacy initiatives aimed at improving the quality of life of individuals with Down syndrome. 

If you're interested getting involved in the Buddy Walk program, please email us at buddywalk@mdsc.org or click on one of the events below for more information.

Budd Walk By The Sea (July 31 Hyannis)

Buddy Walk & Harvest Fair (Sept. 18, Westborough)

Buddy Walk & Family Festival (Sunday, October 9, Wakefield)

Buddy Walk Family Picnic

Important Links and Documents

Buddy Walk Program Fundraising Toolkit
 Buddy Walk Incentive Progam