Thursday, September 13, 2007

Dear Friends and Family,

I hope this fall finds you relaxed and in good spirits! We are having a busy time getting ready for our newest Clark addition, Grant! I am writing you today because it is THAT time again! The 2007 Buddy Walk is right around the corner! As you all know, our 17 month old son Jack was diagnosed with Down syndrome at 2 weeks old. He is one of the most amazing children I have ever laid my eyes on (I know, I’m biased! :-)). In his short life, he has profoundly changed the hearts and minds of many with his unforgettable presence, the sparkle in his big brown eyes, and his sweet smile. In recent years, great strides have been made to improve the lives of our kids. This has only happened through years of research, and as a family, we are compelled to help continue this research by supporting the many organizations who have committed to bettering the lives of all people with Down Syndrome.

A wonderful way to help or otherwise become involved in Down syndrome-related charities is participation in the Buddy Walk. The Down Syndrome Association of Orange County (DSAOC) is having their 13th annual "Buddy Walk" at Angel Stadium on Sunday, November 4, 2007. The DSAOC is an organization that is committed to being the leader in enhancing the quality of life, and realizing the potential of all people with Down Syndrome. The Buddy Walk is designed to promote awareness and inclusion for people with Down Syndrome, as well as to raise money to support education, research and advocacy initiatives. Needless to say, it promotes a cause that is close to our hearts.

As stated above, the Orange County Buddy Walk will take place at Angel Stadium in Anaheim on Sunday, November 4, 2007. We will have a team there, “Jammin’ for Jack.” Last year, our team raised almost $8,000.00 and had over 40 people on our team walking for Jack! We hope to surpass both of those numbers this year and hope to get as many people out there raising awareness for Down syndrome and celebrating the life of Jack as possible! Even if you can’t walk long distances (I may be in that boat with you as I’ll be 9 months pregnant!), your presence speaks volumes! You don’t even have to walk…just celebrate with us!

Registration will begin at 9 a.m. with the walk kick-off at 11:00 a.m. The Buddy Walk is about a mile long (strollers and wagons are permitted) and it will be followed with Lunch from 11:30am-12:30pm and Fun on the Field from 10am-2pm. This is a family friendly event! The actual walk is only a small part of this event. If you were there last year, you know how incredible a day it is! I will be MUCH more organized since I know what to expect! We’ll have breakfast and we’ll be there early for a prime spot on the field! ;-)

We would love as many of you as possible to partake -- but we do not mean to pressure anyone and do not want anyone to feel compelled. We recognize how busy everyone is, however, we just wanted to let you all know about the event and thought it might be a great opportunity to get together with some family and friends. We are committed to raising awareness about Down syndrome as well as educating folks that a complete and happy life is possible for people with disabilities. Last year, nationwide, the Buddy Walk raised over $5 million dollars. We hope to help this year by raising at least $10,000.00 as a team. If you cannot walk, please consider making a donation to our team. Each donation is a tax-deduction and you will be supporting a great cause. We have enclosed a self-addressed stamped envelope for your convenience if you would like to make a donation or join the team. All checks should be made out to: DSAOC, OR if you would like to donate online go to the following link: (for individual donations) OR (to join the team)
Please let us know if you intend to participate and please pass this note along to anyone who might be interested or to anyone that I might have omitted.

Hoping to see you all on the 4th. Thank you in advance for your support and generosity.
With warmest regards,

John, Kristin, Keeley, Bella, and Jack (and soon to be Grant) Clark

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