Team Highlight: Bryce’s Buddies, Columbus Buddy Walk®

By Jen Franklin Kearns, ds-connex team member

Like most elements of our usual lives by now, fundraising for our Down syndrome events may look a bit different this year. Team Captains will need to find creative ways to raise money for their local Down syndrome associations, in order to provide support while observing social distancing. I was impressed by an idea I saw recently, posted on Facebook by Tori Whitley, Team Captain of Bryce’s Buddies for the Columbus Buddy Walk®, and we reached out to Tori to ask her to share the details. She generously agreed, as she is happy to help the Down syndrome community any way she can.


Tori, a third year Team Captain, shared that she came up with this fundraising idea after thinking of ways to raise money due to the changes surrounding us due to COVID-19. “I knew I had to get creative,” she explained. Tori posted this board on her Facebook page, and her friends are encouraged to choose a number on the board, which corresponds with a donation amount (the 1 square = $1, the 100 square = $100).

“Most of our fundraisers have been restaurant nights or other in-person events. That’s when I realized we needed to do something virtual and my friend’s adoption fundraiser came to mind. I decided to add a little twist though. When people donated by committing to a square, they got to choose me or my husband’s face to go on the board. Once the board was full, the person whose face was on the board the most won. We picked something for each other to do as the loser. This really has enticed people to donate, I think.”

Tori’s most recent update on Facebook shows that it is enticing, indeed!


This year, Bryce’s Buddies has a goal of raising $10,000 for the Down Syndrome Association of Central Ohio. With this fundraiser, they are well on their way! Tori shared “Not knowing what to expect with our first year and doing absolutely no fundraising, we had over $6,000. Last year we got over $10,000. My goal is to raise as much money as possible, because DSACO has done so much for us since we became part of this wonderful community.”

In addition to this fundraiser, Tori is exploring other options to help her team reach its goal. “I have a friend who has done a Lularoe fundraiser for me. She donates a portion of her sales for an entire month and that’s been pretty successful each year. Last year we did a 50/50 raffle and had a silent auction. We had everything donated for the auction. It was in person but I saw someone do it online once, so I may have to look into that option. Last year that was our biggest fundraiser at almost $2,000.”

No matter what fundraisers her team hosts, it’s important to Tori that she share her “why” behind the efforts. “When family and friends understand why they are giving money it’s easier for them to support,” she explained.

To learn more about Bryce’s Buddies and the 2020 Columbus Buddy Walk®, please visit their Stride fundraising site.

This post is part of our ongoing Walk Team Spotlight blog series, which profiles Down syndrome walk teams by sharing their unique backstories, as well as fundraising, recruitment, and networking tips. Check back for future posts in this series coming soon! Submit your story ideas to:

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