For several years, the Miracle Walk for Down Syndrome in Miami has been a popular event with the local community. Last year the event grew even further with the inclusion of the 5K run. With nearly a decade of moving behind them, participants and organizers share their favorite memories from past walks and runs.
“My favorite memory is having our children… and having them and all their friends participate and volunteer” says Miracle Walk organizer Eduardo Llano, whose daughter, Daniela, was born with Down syndrome.
He has many fond memories of The Walk since its inception nine years ago. “The most special thing here is to bring all our special children here to be with all their family and friends… and we let everybody know here what the Down Syndrome Association of Miami is doing for the community.”
The parents are not the only ones in the family who have many happy memories of The Walk as the brothers and sisters of the children with Down syndrome also have their fair share of special moments.
“After everybody walks, a few dancers get up on stage and they[the children] all enjoy getting up there with them” says participant Nicole Maribona whose sister, Katelyn was born with Down syndrome as well.
Like Eduardo, she has been a part of the Miracle Walk since the beginning. Having attended the walk since she was a little girl, Maribona has had her own unique take on the events that have unfolded. “We all just have a really good time.”
Close friends of families with a member who has Down syndrome also partake to support their companions. Their participation has given them the chance to see The Walk from yet another unique perspective.
Scot Evans, a close friend of the Maribona family since his daughter and a daughter of the Maribonas joined the same soccer team, has been a participant of the Miracle Walk for seven years. He not only loves the walk itself, but loves seeing all the families come together for the event. “There was a couple years before the run started where we would all walk together, the girls on our soccer team and the parents… it was just nice to have the group out there supporting Katelyn and her family on this day… that’s my best memory.”
It is clear to see that the Miracle Walk is more than just a fun event for families to do on a Sunday morning. It has left an imprint on all who have participated. Whether they are related to a person with Down syndrome, or are simply good friends with the families, everyone has their own favorite moment from the years of walking, and now, running.
Video produced with participation by: Matthew Rembold and Dylan Moure