Cindy Speaker:  Good afternoon and welcome to our show today. My name is Cindy Speaker. I have with me today one of my favorite guests, David Daggett of Daggett Shuler Attorneys at Law. David, how are you doing?

David Daggett: I’m doing great Cindy. Thanks for having me today. It’s good to see you.

Cindy Speaker: Always good to see you. We’re talking about a favorite topic really for both of us, but we’re going to talk about the Piedmont Down Syndrome Support Network’s Buddy Walk.

David Daggett:  Yes.

Cindy Speaker:  Tell us a little bit about what they do in the triad.

David Daggett: Well, it’s very exciting. The Piedmont Down Syndrome Support Network is a network in our triad area that supports individuals and families that have Down Syndrome and the Buddy Walk is one of two featured events throughout the year. Actually, this is I believe the 17th Annual Buddy Walk here.

Cindy Speaker: Fantastic.

David Daggett: And it has grown to 275 Buddy Walks across the United States.

Cindy Speaker: Wow.

David Daggett: Basically, the whole principle is it’s a family fun day with a festival, games, food, raffles for prizes, all sorts of things going on and it concludes with the Buddy Walk which is one lap around the track. Ours is being held on October 13 at West Forsythe High School out at the stadium from 9:00 a.m. until about noon or so.

Cindy Speaker: Okay.

David Daggett:  It’s to promote inclusiveness and awareness for the Down Syndrome community and others with challenges or disabilities. It’s really a fun event.

Cindy Speaker: David, how long have you been involved in it?

David Daggett:  This is my third year emceeing and announcing the Buddy Walk. I became friends with the person who was the volunteer coordinator a few years back, asked me. They actually saw me announcing at a large running race and asked me if I would be interested in helping with the Down Syndrome Association. As I think you know, my favorite cousin had Down Syndrome. Toni, she passed away a couple years ago. I say children, but they’re not all children. Individuals with Down Syndrome are very special to me and it’s a really, really fun event.

Cindy Speaker:  Yeah. That’s neat. You know, they’re special to me as well. I participated in a Buddy Walk probably 10 years ago here. It was just beautiful. This is a national organization, correct?

David Daggett: Well, we’re a Chapter of a national organization.

Cindy Speaker:  Okay.

David Daggett: Individual Chapters around the United States have their own Buddy Walk events. You know, the thing I always tell people is I promise you will have fun. The Down Syndrome community, they are some of the happiest people you will ever meet. Very, very loving. I’m going to tear up now. I got to keep my sunglasses on the whole time because I have tears in my eyes. I promise people that they will leave with two things, a tear in their eye and a smile on their face. You just can’t help it. It’s just wonderful, wonderful events.

Cindy Speaker: Yeah.

David Daggett: I think it’s a real good lesson for all of us. You know, particularly during these political, all the fighting we have going on.

Cindy Speaker:  Yeah.

David Daggett: It’s like there’s a new issue everyday we’re having to deal with and everybody’s butting heads. It’s fun to be in an environment where inclusion and acceptance rules the day.

Cindy Speaker:  Yes.

David Daggett: It’s wonderful just seeing people coming together in that environment.

Cindy Speaker:  Yeah.

David Daggett:  I think last year, and maybe while this is going we’ll post some pictures.

Cindy Speaker: Yeah.

David Daggett:  Last year, I think we had about 1200 people in attendance.

Cindy Speaker: Wow.

David Daggett:  Yeah. It’s pretty big.

Cindy Speaker:  Fantastic.

David Daggett:  Yeah. We’re trying to get out and promote it even more this year, get more people. I had a professional volunteer her services. She was fantastic. She went up at the top of the bleachers and got a photo of everybody together lined up on the track. It was just a beautiful thing.

Cindy Speaker:  That’s really neat.

David Daggett: Yeah.

Cindy Speaker:  Tell us about the underlying organization and what they do.

David Daggett:  The Piedmont Down Syndrome Support Network is they are there to provide a support structure for people that have Down Syndrome. That really starts at day one or prior to day one. Some of the prenatal scanning can give indicators that there’s a good possibility and potential that a child will be born with Down Syndrome.

Cindy Speaker:  Yeah.

David Daggett:  To expecting parents, that is really a startling and shocking news to receive.

Cindy Speaker:  Yeah.

David Daggett:  It’s very difficult in that you don’t know how to process that news and that information. The Down Syndrome Support Network can jump right in, help with understanding, help with materials, help to be there, help with the education process, all those sort of things. The families that I know that have a family member with Down Syndrome, they put that in the plus column. It’s not a burden. It’s a bonus to have a member of your family with Down Syndrome, just because of the lessons that you can learn from those individuals.

Cindy Speaker:  Yeah.

David Daggett: Again, the lessons of inclusion and acceptance that we can all be reminded of literally all the time.

Cindy Speaker: I’m sure.

David Daggett:   The awareness that despite the difficulties and obviously some struggles, that these individuals have very happy, very productive lives. Our local support network is now doing a series of videos of individuals with Down Syndrome out in the community. One of my favorites, Brent, working at a local grocery store. The promotional video with Brent in it, I mean, if you don’t fall in love with him just during that video. It’s just incredible.

Really, at the Buddy Walk, that’s what happens with every individual that comes. You know, you don’t have to do anything special, be anything special, bring anything special, just be yourself. Open up your heart and I promise it gets returned 10 times back to you. It’s really pretty neat.

Cindy Speaker:  That’s really neat.

David Daggett:  Yep.

Cindy Speaker:  I can see that it’s very special to you.

David Daggett:  Yeah. I’m sitting here fighting tears the whole time and my voice cracking, but that’s okay.

Cindy Speaker:  That’s okay.

David Daggett:   Yeah.

Cindy Speaker:  David, now what do they use the money for? Is it educational type things?

David Daggett:   Yeah. It’s educational type things and just basic support for families dealing with Down Syndrome. You got to remember that Down Syndrome isn’t selective. It hits the whole socio economic spectrum. We have some poor families dealing with children with Down Syndrome that need help and assistance as far as dealing with the condition itself, transportation to and from medical services, education, you know, the whole spectrum.

The goal this year is to raise $60,000. That’s an aggressive goal.

Cindy Speaker: Oh, fantastic.

David Daggett:  There’s a lot of teams set up.

Cindy Speaker: Okay.

David Daggett: There’s fundraising goals. There’s fundraising goals for the top fundraising team, for the top first time teams and the teams with the most participants.

Cindy Speaker: Okay.

David Daggett:  It’s a pretty big event.

Cindy Speaker: Yeah.

David Daggett: It gets pretty competitive. There’s also a talent show that I emcee and moderate. The talent show, some of the talent is really unbelievable. Some of it’s off the charts.

Cindy Speaker: That’s awesome.

David Daggett:  It’s really, really good.

Cindy Speaker:   That’s awesome.

David Daggett: I usually end up with a helper or two that’s hanging on around me to help me.

Cindy Speaker: Oh, that’s great.

David Daggett:   Yeah. Oh it is. It’s just terrific. It really is.

Cindy Speaker: How can somebody get involved in this? Where do they go? We’ll put a link up, but tell us what the link is or how to get involved.

David Daggett: Well, it’s PDSSN.  Piedmont Down Syndrome Support Network.

Cindy Speaker: Okay.

David Daggett: It’s on Facebook. Pdssn.org is the website. There’s lots of information available.

Cindy Speaker:  That’s awesome.

David Daggett:  Please, please search out the information. We’ll be posting information. I will be tweeting live from the event and it will be a fun time for all. I absolutely promise and guarantee it.

Cindy Speaker:  Yeah. It sounds like it.

David Daggett: I was also going to mention earlier this year as I think you know, Cindy, I won a Governor’s Volunteer Service Award for my work with The Down Syndrome Association. This one’s near and dear to my heart. It’s a whole lot of fun. I made a deal with them that I get to perpetually participate in these events. I will always be there. I’m looking forward not just to this year, but many, many years to come.

Cindy Speaker:  That sounds great. You know, you really are really good at the emceeing. You do that so well, because you are so excited and enthusiastic. It’s great.

David Daggett: Yeah. I get excited pretty easily.

Cindy Speaker:  Yes you do. I look forward to seeing the video on Facebook and I wish I could be there, but I’m a little far away.

David Daggett:  Yeah. It’s so much fun. With events and organizations like this, you always receive much more than you give.

Cindy Speaker:  Yeah.

David Daggett: It’s very, very rewarding.

Cindy Speaker:  Yeah.

David Daggett:  It’s meaningful and it’s rewarding.

Cindy Speaker:  Well, David, I know you don’t mind people asking if they have questions, they can’t reach the organization or whatever, just give us your information. I like to get that up there too. Your website. Your phone number if somebody wants to [crosstalk].

David Daggett:  Oh sure. Well, yeah, if anybody has any questions give us a a call. 336-724-1234. You can go to daggettshulerlaw.com. I believe we have a click through on the front page right now to the Buddy Walk.

Cindy Speaker:  Oh, terrific.

David Daggett:  Yeah.

Cindy Speaker:  Terrific.

David Daggett: Yeah. It’s important to our whole firm. It’s a big event.

Cindy Speaker:  That’s great.

David Daggett: Yeah.

Cindy Speaker:  Well, David, thanks so much for being with us as always. Love your enthusiasm. Love to talk with you.

David Daggett:  Great speaking with you Cindy. Thank you.