💛 Meet Erica 💙

We’re the Castaneda family, based in Glendale, Arizona. Our daughter Erica, who is now 18 and in her senior year of high school, has been the light of our lives. She loves music, dancing, and spending time with her family and friends. We’ve been active members of the Down Syndrome Network of Arizona for many years, and it’s been a cornerstone in our journey with Erica.

  • What does Down Syndrome Walk Arizona mean to you?

The Buddy Walk is more than just an event for us; it’s a celebration of community, acceptance, and the unique qualities that make each individual special. It’s a day when we feel embraced by a community that understands our challenges and celebrates our victories, no matter how small. It’s a reminder that we’re not alone on this journey.

  • How has DSNetwork’s program and services directly supported your family and loved one with Down syndrome?

DS Network has been invaluable to us, providing resources, activities, and a sense of community that we couldn’t find elsewhere. They’ve helped us navigate the educational system, find inclusive activities for Erica, and connected us with other families who share similar experiences. Their support has been a lifeline, especially during transitional phases like Erica entering her senior year.

  • What is your favorite part of the Walk?

Our favorite part of the Buddy Walk is the sense of unity and celebration. Seeing Erica’s face light up as she walks and interacts with the community is priceless. It’s a day filled with love, laughter, and the kind of understanding that only comes from shared experiences.


We’re honored that Erica has been selected as an ambassador this year. As she steps into adulthood, we’re excited to see her take on this leadership role within a community that has given us so much. We hope that our participation encourages others to support this incredible organization that has been a pillar of strength for our family.


DONATE OR JOIN Erica’s Entourage >>>


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