Megan Blake has a special connection to the DSAGR’s Annual Step Up for Down Syndrome 5K and Family Festival.
When Megan’s daughter, Katie, was born in 2006, she sought information and resources to help with the overwhelming feeling of having a child with Down syndrome. Through her search, she found the DSAGR (Down Syndrome Association of Greater Richmond) which, at that time, was small and consisted of a handful of families, monthly meetings, picnics and events to bring families together.
Megan coordinated part of the first DSAGR walk in 2007. “We started out at The University of Richmond with just a small group of families of children with Down syndrome and friends. It was a great experience!” She has volunteered and participated in almost every walk since.
She has watched the DSAGR 5K grow over the past 11 years and was excited when the event was moved to more public venues, like mall locations. “Shoppers who might not have any experience with Down syndrome could see the great kids and families, and see them dancing on the stage.” They would “see how much fun we were having” and often stop and ask how they could sign up.
She encourages the greater community to get involved in the Step Up 5K this year. “Come out and see the wonderful community of people with Down syndrome and their families and friends. The money raised goes to support these families and services and to coordinate programs in the Richmond area, like the annual conference” which brings parents, educators, policy makers, and medical professionals together. “And we have fun, even in the pouring rain!”
Megan added, “We have been so blessed with Katie for many reasons, but one of the biggest is that she introduced us to such a special community!”
This year, the 11th Annual Step Up for Down Syndrome 5K and Family Festival will be held Saturday, October 14th at The ACCA Shrine Center (1712 Bellevue Avenue) in Richmond. For more information about the event and how to register, visit http://dsagr.org/annual-fundraising-events/.