My nerves were all over the place – was I going to be able to capture moments that had meaning?

A few weeks ago I was asked by Susan from DS Connections NW, if I would come and do team photos for their annual Step Up to DS walk in Spokane. I actually met Susan last year when I was planning on doing a community event for down syndrome children, giving them a pirate party for fun! When the event was not published as it was suppose to, I took it very personal and felt terrible for these families that never got to share their story with our community. So when Susan asked me to step in to do photos for this year, I was very happy to do so.

The Step UP for Down Syndrome Walk (formerly known as the Buddy Walk) was developed as a way to reach out to friends, family, and co-workers to promote awareness and inclusion for people with Down syndrome. It is also designed to raise funds for local and national education, research and advocacy programs.

The Step UP Walk is an easy one mile walk in which anyone can participate without special training. Hundreds of thousands of people take part in different walks from coast to coast and around the world each year to show their support for Down syndrome awareness.

People throughout the Inland Northwest whose lives have been touched by Down syndrome will join with members of our local business community in helping to raise awareness of the many abilities that people with Down syndrome possess and to celebrate the many ways they contribute to the benefit of both our professional and civic communities.

The walk was held at Discovery Park in Spokane, which is an adorable park! There were all kinds of things for the kids and the families to do together before and after the walk started. Raffle items, American Ninja course, photo booth, arts & crafts, bubbles, a happy clown that makes balloon animals, hats and swords and a sweet little spot for the kids to be in the Hall of Fame photo wall. Each year they take a photo and each year they can look back to see how much they have grown. And then of course, the team photo area – which is where I was.

The families were all in happy spirits and it was wonderful meeting all these beautiful children that were full of precious personalities. Everyone played, danced, laughed, and joined together to help make a difference for DS Connections NW.

Here is a list of the vendors that also participated in the walk event.

Title Sponsors $1000+: CdA Peds | Kootenai HealthCdA Tribe  |  KLEW TV


Major Sponsors $500+: Mountain Power  |  Lakeside Pediatrics  |  Barrett Family Chiropractic   |    Jitterz  |

Lake City Rental  |   American Universal Storage  |  Isolutions


Supporting Sponsors $250+The Ugly Duck  |  Unlimited Marketing  |  Jax Creations Photography

The Inlander  |  Ruby Frog  |  Raptor Reef  |  Jeda  |  Northwest Restorations  |  Northwest Pet Resort

Periwinkle  |  Northwest Extreme Sports  |   Panera Bread We Got Wood Northwest  |

Sandy Zimmerman (American Ninja Warrior)  |   Northern Dance Academy  |  All Star Glass


Associate Sponsors $100+:  Verdis  |  Syringa  |  Centerplace  |  Bloom Dentistry  |  Spoelstra Chiropractic

Lost Moose  |  ICARD  |  Curtis Orthodontists  |  Pepsi  |  Buffalo Wild Wings  |  Centerplace



The next day after the walk I learned that there was over 700 registered Walkers, 48 teams and they raised enough money  to fund all of their programs for 2018! That is very exciting news!!!

Here are a few sneak peeks of the walk and these kiddos that I just wanted to scoop up and snuggle!