North Central Kansas
Down Syndrome Society

NCKDSS Annual Buddy Walk

Upcoming Events

Our Mission

The North Central Kansas Down Syndrome Society (NCKDSS) is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide support and resources to individuals with Down Syndrome and their families. The NCKDSS was established in 2002 by two families in the NCK community. Their mission was to ensure their children full potential in community life. This mission is being fulfilled through education, research, and advocacy. The Society has grown through various activities engagements and community awareness programs. Each October, which is National Down Syndrome Awareness month, the NCKDSS sponsors a "Buddy Walk" to promote the acceptance of all people with Down Syndrome. The Buddy Walk has grown every year from 30 participants to over 900 participants.

What is Down Syndrome

Down Syndrome is the most commonly occurring chromosomal abnormality, resulting when an individual possesses three, rather than the usual two, copies of the 21st chromosome. This excess genetic material affects a person's physical and cognitive development. People with Down syndrome will have some degree of mental retardation. There are many characteristics associated with Down Syndrome, including low muscle tone, a flat facial profile, and an increased risk of some related medical conditions. However, every person with Down syndrome is a unique individual and may possess these characteristics to different degrees or not at all. In addition, all of these characteristics are found in the general population.

Why Be Concerned

Chromosomal abnormalities are a widespread medical issue, with Down syndrome being the most common genetic condition. One in every 800 to 1,000 children is born with Down syndrome. More than 50 percent of miscarriages are caused by a chromosomal abnormality. As many as 25 percent of all miscarriages are caused by a "trisomy" which is the presence of three copies of a particular chromosome, rather than the usual copy of the 21st chromosome. - National Down Syndrome Society

Annual Buddy Walk

In 1995, thousands of steps were taken towards a better tomorrow. Since then, the Buddy Walk® has become known as the premier advocacy event for Down Syndrome in the United States. It is also the world’s most widely recognized public awareness program for the Down Syndrome community. The 1st Buddy Walk was held in North Central Kansas in 2002 and is now held every year the 1st Sunday in October.

National Society

The National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) is the leading human rights organization for all individuals with Down syndrome. NDSS envisions a world in which all people with Down syndrome have the opportunity to enhance their quality of life, realize their life aspirations, and become valued members of welcoming communities. Founded in 1979, our activities include shaping and advocating for improved public policy, increased public resources and services for people with Down syndrome; working in partnership with our affiliates and other support organizations; improving educational opportunities for individuals with Down syndrome; advancing basic, clinical and applied research; and implementing a national public awareness strategy.




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NCKDSS Board Members

Beth Bergstrom


Shella Thoman


Kristi Benyshek

Jody Sipe

Anita Laws

Debbie Vanous

Vanessa Tiemeyer

Buddy Walk Comments

Shella did an outstanding job and it was fantastic to see such a great turnout of supporters.
Thank you for all the time and hard work you all put into the success of the event!
We hope all of our team can make it next year! Our new people were absolutely amazed at how big this is!