Our family’s first Buddy Fest NW was in 2010, after the birth of our second daughter. We spent most of the day on the lawn, taking it all in and enjoying the family and friends that came along to enjoy the day with us. My oldest friend made team hats to officially announce Team Nickel’s Pickles. From there, we increased our participation year by year, and eight years later, my family has the date saved well ahead of time, and our friends and family are quick to participate. This will be our ninth walk this year and each year Nickel grows more eager to attend. Last year she was just a few steps shy of completing the entire walk on her own two feet. While I’m not sure that experiencing Down syndrome really resonates with her yet, she definitely recognizes that this is a day of family, friends, and fun, and I am ever thankful for the opportunity to share such a day of community and love with her and all the other families and supporters in our area who experience and embrace Down syndrome.