Walk Team Spotlight – Preston’s Pack of the GRADSA Buddy Walk

Author: Jen Franklin Kearns, ds-connex team member

The 20th Annual GRADSA Buddy Walk® will take place on Saturday, September 30th. The Green River Down Syndrome Association has a goal of raising $70,000 to fund programming and support for the local Down syndrome community, and helping them do that is Preston’s Pack, led by Kay Peach.

GRADSA Buddy Walk Preston's Pack

Preston is three years old and loves to dance, sing, and read. He is also a huge fan of Paw Patrol; he asks for the show by name and will watch it for as long as he is allowed. Preston is very proud of his new found skill, jumping, and has also made great improvements in his speech. Preston’s family loves to watch him dance along with his favorite music, and they participate in the GRADSA Buddy Walk® in honor of this sweet boy.

This will be the Peach family’s second year at the GRADSA Buddy Walk®; they initially got involved after learning about GRADSA and attending events. Preston’s dad, Richard, has also joined the GRADSA board. “It’s fun to be around other families with kids with Down syndrome,” Kay shared. “It’s also very informative and comforting.”

GRADSA Buddy Walk Preston and sister

Kay utilizes Facebook to invite people to join her team or make donations. She also texts close family and friends to extend an invitation to the event. Having found that corporate sponsorships are the most successful fundraising tactic for her team, Kay hands out the sponsorship information to “any and every local business” that will let her do so. She has learned that “many businesses already have money set aside for local events like this and it just takes being asked in order to get a piece of it.”

Kay has also partnered with her gym, EDGEFiT, to do a charity challenge. Each time someone checked in to the gym on social media and used the hashtag #prestonstrong, the gym added to their donation. After six weeks, they did a family boot camp and charged $10/family. They had a great turnout, and all of the proceeds benefitted GRADSA.

Finding that repetition is key to fundraising, Kay will post on social media or send a text once a week to remind her family and friends to register or donate. As the walk gets closer, she recommends posting every day. Knowing that people are busy and may intend to donate but forget, Kay finds these reminders helpful in securing donations. She posts photos of Preston and true stories of his accomplishments and progress, so that she is not only raising money but also awareness. “I try to include facts and other things they may not know about Preston and about Down syndrome to increase awareness and education,” she explained. She also makes a point of expressing her gratitude and appreciation when someone does register or make a donation.

GRADSA Buddy Walk Preston team

To encourage a new team captain, Kay would tell them how easy it is to raise money for their team. “The website is easy to use; it’s easy to post donations yourself and easy for your friends and family to use.”

Kay hopes that being a member of Preston’s Pack will raise awareness of “the difficulty as well as the immense joy of having a Preston in your life.” She looks forward to all of the fun activities at the walk, and remembers the dancing from last year’s walk. “That was great,” she shared.

To learn more about the 20th Annual GRADSA Buddy Walk®, please visit their Stride fundraising site: http://www.ds-stride.org/gradsabuddywalk.

This post is a part of our ongoing Walk Team Spotlight blog series, which profiles Down syndrome walk teams 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: support@ds-connex.org.

One response to “Walk Team Spotlight – Preston’s Pack of the GRADSA Buddy Walk”

  1. Debbi stiles says:

    Preston is a true hero 🏆Teaching us all everyday day❤️ Love him and his family