Meet the 2022 Walk Ambassadors

💛 Meet Sienna 💙

Sienna. Age 6 almost 7 (will be 7 on November 3!) sienna loves to dance & sing! Her favorite place to be is the park 🙂 What does the Down […]

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💛 Meet Grace 💙

Grace Harper is 6 years old and we brought her home from the hospital 6 years ago this October. She started kindergarten this year and loves school. She is obsessed […]

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💙 Meet Edward 💛

My husband and I have 5 children, ages 16, 14, 12, 5 and 2. Edward is our 5 year old with Down Syndrome. His younger sister was quiet a surprise […]

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💙 Meet Milo 💛

We are a family of four, Omar, Wendy, Bruno, and Milo, originally from Sonora, Mexico residing in Phoenix, Arizona, since 2019. We love to take our kids camping, hiking, and […]

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💙 Meet Joseph 💛

We were blessed when Joseph was born. We were told Joseph would not be like all other children. We did not expect that at 6 weeks. Four therapists worked with […]

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💙 Meet Joaquin 💛

Joaquin is 6 years old and lives with his parents and big sister, Ximena (10). He loves hitting balls around the house and dancing to his favorite music. He is […]

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💙 Meet Brett 💛

Brett Logan is 19 years old and lives in Gilbert, AZ. We are originally from Colorado and have been in Arizona for about 4 years now. He is super outgoing, […]

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💛 Meet Chloe 💙

Chloe is a 15 yr old, who lives here in the Valley, she LOVES music, movies with music (Encanto, and Turning Red are her current faves), reading (especially about history, […]

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💛 Meet Angelina 💙

Angelina Cielo is the youngest of 4 sisters. The day she was born completely changed our family’s lives for the absolute better! She brings us so much joy and has […]

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💙 Meet Anthony & Jazzy 💛

Our family was blessed with 2 wonderful children with Down Syndrome. Anthony is 7 and Jazzy is 4. Anthony is a social bug, he loves sports, pretend play and is […]

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💛 Meet Charlotte 💙

Charlotte is 10 years old and is the second youngest of 5 siblings. When Charlotte is not showing off her dancing and spinning skills, you can find her in the […]

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💛Meet Liam W💙

Liam is 7 years old and has a zest for life! He is passionate about music, dance, baseball, soccer, horseback riding, adaptive water sports, and, of course… Youtube videos and […]

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💙 Meet Avraam 💛

My Son Avraam, a 3 year old boy, with a beautiful personality has Down syndrome, never did I know what a beautiful life this is. We are walking for awareness […]

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💙 Meet Liam B 💛

Liam is loving 13 year old boy with Down syndrome and Autism. He loves anything to do with music – playing drums, dancing to all kinds of beats (especially Latin), […]

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💛 Meet Sophie Grace 💙

Sophie Grace is 9 years old. She is outgoing and loves to be little miss independent and keep up with her two siblings. She loves playing with our three dogs, and is drawn to babies anytime she sees them. She thrives off of music and dancing. We live in Goodyear, but she has already gotten to travel so much already since her dad lives in Alabama. She has already traveled the entire southern United States, a total of 14 states at nine years old, and she loves it! She has an older brother who is 16 and a younger sister who is 8. She is definitely the shining light of our family!

  • What does Down Syndrome Walk Arizona mean to you?
The walk is so important to us, I believe we have participated every year since she was born in 2014. We take pride in advocating for people with Down syndrome, and putting them in the spotlight so more people become more aware of Down Syndrome.
  • How has DSNetwork’s program and services directly supported your family and loved one with Down syndrome?
Since she was born, in 2014
  • What is your favorite part of the Walk?
Getting to meet other families who have a loved one with Down Syndrome. It’s like another family we got to acquire after having Sophie.

💛 Meet Marcus 💙

We are a family of 5, that consists of 3 sons, and the middle son, is Marcus, which has Down Syndrome. We live in Gilbert. One of our favorite things to do is to play Uno as a family, and Marcus is a champ at it. He seems to win the majority of the time. He mostly enjoys playing the draw 4 card on one of his brothers. Marcus loves to play video games with his brothers and he loves super heroes, specifically the Flash, Batman and Shazam. He is a sophomore at Campo Verde High School, and loves to participate in their United Sound program where he plays the baritone. He also loves to compete in Special Olympics.

  • What does Down Syndrome Walk Arizona mean to you?
We love being a part of the Down Syndrome Walk every year. The first walk we ever did was before Marcus was born, but we knew he would be born with Down Syndrome. It was a great way to meet other families and enjoy what would become a yearly tradition for our family. He gets to be center stage, and he feels everybody is there for him. He loves walking down and giving everyone high fives.
  • How has DSNetwork’s program and services directly supported your family and loved one with Down syndrome?
DSNetwork has been there for us since before Marcus was born. We were able to speak to other parents and families and understand a little more of what the future looked like raising a child with Down Syndrome. DSNetwork and members of DSNetwork have been so supportive over the years. There are so many services and opportunities for any person and family that is raising a person with Down Syndrome, and DSNetwork is a huge resource of all these different services and opportunities.
  • What is your favorite part of the Walk?
Our favorite part of the walk is seeing Marcus’ smiling face as he walks down the street and high fives as many people as possible. It’s his moment to shine, and seeing all of these people supporting him and acknowledging him, and all of those walking is such a rewarding experience.

💛 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 >>>

 

💛 Meet Ryder 💙

Ryder is 8 years old (in September) and he is in 1st grade. He lives in Scottsdale with Joe (Big brother 9), Andrea (Mom), Joey (Dad) plus Daisy and Luke (our dogs). He loves swimming, camping, school, number blocks and family time. He’s a thrill seeker and never says no to a waterslide or riding a quad/side by side. Most recently he learned that he loves to boogie board.

  • What does Down Syndrome Walk Arizona mean to you?
It means coming together as a community with friends and family to spread awareness and acceptance. The Down syndrome Walk Arizona means more opportunities and acceptance. This is our favorite and Ryder loves high fiving everyone along the way.
  • How has DSNetwork’s program and services directly supported your family and loved one with Down syndrome?
It provides so many programs for Ryder. Plus, DSNetwork brings the whole community together for many event which allows all of us to talk and help each other grow. I love meeting all of these people!
  • What is your favorite part of the Walk?
All the high fives Ryder gives while walking down the street.
We hope you will join us in October for the walk and donate to DSNetwork so they can continue to provide many amazing programs for Ryder and all of this friends!

💛 Meet Zoe 💙

We are a family of 3 and our pride and joy is our daughter Zoe who is 4 years old. She loves to explore, play with her ballerina doll, and play with her older cousins.

  • What does Down Syndrome Walk Arizona mean to you?
The Down Syndrome walk is a time to come together as a family, a community of people who love and appreciate someone with Down syndrome. When a team of family, friends, neighbors, exct. comes out to support that one person, it means so much to the family and reminds us all how loved our children are.
  • How has DSNetwork’s program and services directly supported your family and loved one with Down syndrome?
 It has provided opportunities to get out and have fun as a family from holiday parties, to the Club extra events swim class, children’s museum, events at the park that we might not otherwise get to do.
  • What is your favorite part of the Walk?
I love knowing that our team has gathered together just to support my daughter Zoe. When I stop to think that someone took the time to make a donation, or join our team and show up for Zoe, it’s a good feeling, and I hope our team continues to grow each year.
 

💛 Meet Ayrton 💙

We are the Pinault’s and we would like to introduce you to our busy family! We live on the west side of Phoenix Arizona, in Goodyear. Our family is a mix of personalities and interests, making each day full of adventure. At the heart of it all is our youngest, Ayrton, who is currently 1 ½ years old. Ayrton has Down syndrome, which is just part of what makes him such a unique and amazing character. He’s always exploring and learning new ways to do things. His infectious smile brightens up our lives every single day. Ayrton has three siblings. Layla, is our reserved and calculated four-year-old daughter. She takes joy in teaching Ayrton new skills. CJ is our energetic nine-year-old son. He is always on the move and eager to look out for his little brother. Adrianna is the oldest of the bunch and will be turning 12 this year. She loves playing volleyball and is a tremendous help with the rest of the gang. We’re also a family of dog lovers, with three friendly pups – Ringo, Trooper, and Senna. As you can imagine, they add even more excitement to our daily adventures. Speaking of adventures, we’re a family that loves the great outdoors. Whether it’s swimming in the pool, camping under the stars, or exploring new destinations, we treasure every chance to create enduring memories together. Beach trips and mountain getaways hold a special place in our hearts. We celebrate diversity, value togetherness, and embrace the beauty of life with all its quirks. Ayrton, with his boundless enthusiasm and loving spirit, serves as a daily reminder that our differences are what truly make us special.

  • What does Down Syndrome Walk Arizona mean to you?

To us, the Down Syndrome Walk holds deep significance. It’s not just an event; it’s a symbol of unity, support, and celebration. It’s a day when families, friends, and communities come together to raise awareness, advocate for inclusivity, and show love for individuals like my son Ayrton who have Down syndrome. This event allows families, like ours, who have received invaluable support from the Down Syndrome Network, to give back by raising both money and awareness. It’s our way of saying “thank you” and ensuring that this network can continue to provide much-needed assistance to others.

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

The Down Syndrome Network has had a positive impact on our family. When we first learned about Ayrton’s Down syndrome diagnosis, they were the first to reach out. Their support provided us with multiple resources, some of which we didn’t even realize we needed. The Down Syndrome Network has also provided us with groups specifically designed to provide support for Dads and Moms of children with Down Syndrome. These groups have allowed us to connect with parents who understand our experiences. Lastly, we’ve had the pleasure of attending events organized by the Down Syndrome Network. These occasions have allowed us to attend sporting events and family activities alongside other families who are also on this remarkable journey. It’s helps build togetherness and feels like being part of one big, extended family.

  • What is your favorite part of the Walk?

One of our favorite aspects of the walk is how it serves as a heartfelt gathering that connects families and friends who share the love for someone with Down syndrome. It’s a day when we can share our experiences, offer and receive guidance, and form bonds that extend far beyond the event itself. But perhaps more importantly, the Down Syndrome Walk is a grand stage. It’s where we get to showcase to the world just how amazing, intelligent, and capable individuals with Down syndrome truly are. It’s a platform to challenge stereotypes and misconceptions, replacing them with a more inclusive and accurate understanding of their potential.

DONATE OR JOIN AYRTON’S AMBULATORS >>>

 

💛 Meet Roberto 💙

Roberto es mi único hijo, tiene 4 años, en octubre 24 cumplirá los 5! Roberto, su papá y yo vivimos en Mesa y estamos tan emocionados y orgullosos de Roberto, porque desde que él nació se ha esforzado increíblemente por lograr metas, unas con más esfuerzo que otras, algunas batallas perdidas pero siempre con la vitalidad, energía y felicidad con la que él hace todo! Es un niño muy bueno, disciplinado, respetuoso, amable y sobretodo amoroso! Disfruta bastante de caminar, explorar y le atrae mucho la música pero su pasión es todo lo relacionado con el agua, le fascina!

  • Qué significa para usted la Caminata por el Síndrome de Down en Arizona?

Para nosotros es un honor y orgullo poder participar en esta caminata por tercer año consecutivo porque significa que nuestra comunidad de síndrome de down, está cada vez más incluida y también es bastante significativo para nosotros el impacto tan positivo que damos como sociedad!

  • Cómo han apoyado directamente el programa y los servicios de DSNetwork a su familia y a su ser querido con síndrome de Down?

Los programas y servicios que ofrece DSNetwork han sido muy importantes en la vida de Roberto y en la de nosotros, sus padres por muchas razones; hemos conocido a otras familias que han vivido situaciones similares a las nuestras y creamos empatía que a menudo es difícil obtener con personas que no han vivido lo mismo, no quiero decir que es menor la empatía con las familias que no tienen a alguien con síndrome de down, pero sí es diferente! Otra razón es que los eventos y programas son increíbles y dejan huella en la vida de nuestros pequeños y la nuestra como padres porque en cada evento son tan felices que estamos esperando siempre el siguiente! También y muy importante es todo el aprendizaje que adquirimos cada vez que asistimos a los programas, es realmente grandioso!

  • Cuál es tu parte favorita de la Caminata?

Mi parte favorita de la caminata es poder tener la oportunidad de crear la concientización en la sociedad sobre la inclusión, aceptación, empatía, amor y respeto por nuestra comunidad de síndrome de down, así como presentar que somos una GRAN COMUNIDAD CON UN CROMOSOMA EXTRA DE AMOR!

Queremos agradecer la oportunidad de poder pertenecer a esta maravillosa comunidad, nos sentimos tan honrados y orgullosos porque Roberto ha sido elegido este año como Embajador de Down Syndrome Walk Arizona!

 

DONATE OR JOIN PASITOS DULCES POR ROBERTO >>>

 

💛 Meet Dylan 💙

Dylan will be 8 years old in October. He loves to dance, swim and play all day. He also loves doors, cars, music, his friends (human and imaginary i.e. Elmo, Hand and Monkey) and whenever anybody cheers for him.

  • What does Down Syndrome Walk Arizona mean to you?

The Walk means so much to us because this will be the first time our Dilly gets to “WALK”. With all the many medical obstacles that our sweet Dill faced, walking was something we only dreamed of, at one time. With all his hard work, determination and strength to over come, that dream is now a reality. This is his first year walking independently and he is here to show us that miracles really do happen.

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

The DSNetwork offers so many opportunities for education, community involvement, raising awareness in relation to Down syndrome and plenty of events and gatherings for our families to meet and mingle. Those friends are now family and they have saved me, fueled me, guided me and given me strength to go out there and advocate for my Dilly. The support is overwhelming and we are so grateful.

  • What is your favorite part of the Walk?

My favorite part of the walk is seeing the way the community responds to our extraordinary families. The outpouring of love and support takes my breath away. Dylan’s favorite part of the walk is all the attention he gets!! Especially in the form of smiling, waving, and cheering. He feels like a Superstar.

DONATE OR JOIN DYLAN DEXTER’S MIDNIGHT RUNNERS >>>

 

💛 Meet Berkeley 💙

Our family loves being active, going to the park, playing at the beach, and most of all traveling. We live in Buckeye – Adam (daddy), Kelly (mommy), Bode (big brother age 9), and Berkeley (DS Superstar age 7) with our border collie, Apollo, who thinks his soul mission in life is to protect our kids. Berkeley loves her big brother, Bode, and all of her family. She is a self-proclaimed “daddy’s girl.” Although her favorite class at her school is PE, which her mom teaches. Berkeley makes friends everywhere she goes. She loves playing at the park, swimming, and most of all reading. Her favorite author is Mo Willems. Berkeley enjoys waking up way too early in morning, being assertive, taking trips to Starbucks and Dutch Bros, watching Disney+ (only if it is on her avatar), and playing “school” with her dolls.

  • What does Down Syndrome Walk Arizona mean to you?

Although we have done previous walks and events, this is our first DSN Walk! It is so exciting for our family and Berkeley’s village to come together and support DSN, all individuals with DS, and spread acceptance.

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

I am so grateful for the programs that DSN has offered. It has allowed us to meet so many families. As a mom I have been able to talk and learn from other mom’s that understand what my life, day in and day out, is really like. When Berkeley was first diagnosed, I never imagined all the friendships and close bonds I would make with the DS community. Knowing there is such a large group willing and able to support Berkeley and our family helps me realize even more how truly lucky we are to be her parents.

  • What is your favorite part of the Walk?

The enormous feeling of gratitude, support, and love.

Donate or Join Team Berkely >>>

 

💛 Meet Alexandra 💙

Alexandra is 14 years old and in 8th grade. She has the best big brother, Jack, who is 16 years old and a junior in high school. Alex is an athlete and plays many sports to include basketball, baseball, soccer and golf, and she loves riding her bike to school. She tried out and made her middle school basketball team in seventh grade and learned so much while having a great inclusive experience. She has been fully included since preschool and loves school. Alex loves going on adventures and exploring the country with her family. She is just a fun loving, independent teenager with all the attitude and hormones that go along with that.

  • What does Down Syndrome Walk Arizona mean to you?

We have been going to this event since we moved here in 2010 when Alex was 1 years old. Through our generous friends and family we have raised well over $15,000 for the DSNetwork of Arizona. It is a huge event with a large turnout that helps raise awareness and acceptance for those with Down syndrome. It is always a fun day!

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

They have opportunities for such high quality training for both parents and self advocates. The support system and networking of parents involved in this organization is amazing.

  • What is your favorite part of the Walk?

Gathering a group of friends and family together to walk the parade route and seeing all the support from the community. Every year we always have Alex’s grandparents along and various friends throughout the years to even include her middle school principal and her family last year.

 

DONATE OR JOIN TEAM ALEXANDRA >>>

 

💛 Meet Oscar 💙

Oscar is 11 years old and we currently live in Phoenix. He loves ballet, basketball, dogs, horseback riding, traveling and movies. He especially loves the movie “The Secret Life of Pets”.

  • What does Down Syndrome Walk Arizona mean to you?

The Down syndrome Walk Arizona means opportunities, it means that Oscar gets to be involved in programs that help him lead a happy and fulfilled life. It is so difficult to find programs that whole heartedly include our children. It is so nice to have programs that embrace him and celebrate his achievements, while shaping them into more active members of the community.

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

By providing programs that help shape Oscar’s future.

  • What is your favorite part of the Walk?

I love when the community comes together to show support for our kids and adults with Down syndrome. It is so important that our loved ones are shown that they are celebrated.

I shared Oscar’s story with a group of women entrepreneurs recently and they were surprised that most extracurricular programs are not so open to including children with special needs. They had no idea, as parents themselves, how hard it is to find programs that are offered to our children to help promote their interests. They agreed that this is a part of their own children’s lives that is often taken for granted. They were happy to learn about programs that offer support and inclusion for all children like, The Down to Earth gardening program, The Ballet workshop with Ballet Arizona, and the Swim workshop with Ability 360 last summer. DS Network AZ has several programs that are geared towards helping our children achieve happy, healthy and fulfilled lives. We are excited to support DS Network AZ by participating in this walk and hope you join us too!

 

 Donate or Join Oscar’s Nerds >>>