The City of Thomson was well represented in the third annual Central Savannah River Area Buddy Walk on Sunday in Evans.
Lt. Chris Reynolds, of Thomson Fire Rescue, set up a tent and passed out information on fire safety.
"We gave out coloring books, pencils, stickers, candy -- several hundred items," Lt. Reynolds said. "I want to thank Chief (Rick) Sewell for his support and donating all the material."
The Buddy Walk promotes awareness and acceptance of Down Syndrome and raises funds to support local and national Down Syndrome programs. The event is held all over the world in October to celebrate Down Syndrome Awareness Month.
"The announcer said we had quadrupled our attendance from our '09 walk," Lt. Reynolds said. "That's extremely good. So, the word did get out."
Down Syndrome is a genetic condition that occurs in approximately one in every 700 births. It affects all races and economic levels, and is the most frequently occurring chromosomal abnormality. According to information from The Upside of Downs of Aiken and Augusta, Down Syndrome occurs when there are three, rather than two, number 21 chromosomes in every cell of the body.
This additional genetic material alters the course of development and causes characteristics associated with the syndrome.
Lt. Reynolds' youngest son, 3-year-old Chris, Jr., has Down Syndrome.
"We don't treat him any different than we do our others," Lt. Reynolds said. "He does have special needs because he's a special boy. Some people think having handicapped kids is a problem. But he's no problem whatsoever. I wouldn't change him for the world."
Lt. Reynolds, Chris' mother, Janice Howell, and their children participated in the Buddy Walk as "Team Li'l Chris." Chris, Jr., and the other Down Syndrome "Buddies" were honored with medals during the event. The walking track at the Columbia County Amphitheater was lined with tents, information booths and carnival-type games.
"He (Chris, Jr.) loved to be pushed around the track in his stroller," Lt. Reynolds said.
The local walk was sponsored by Knology of Augusta, WBBQ radio station, Firehouse Subs, WJBF News Channel 6 and the Augusta GreenJackets.
For more information, visit www.buddywalk.org.