CHAMPIONS

Our inspiring patients are the reason the CHOP Buddy Walk® was created and why we continue to strive to create breakthroughs for every child in our care. All donations benefit the Trisomy 21 Program at CHOP and the National Down Syndrome Society. Thank you!

Charlotte’s Story

CharlotteCharlotte’s medical journey began before she was even born. She needed heart surgery shortly after birth and continues to see multiple CHOP specialists, all coordinated through the Trisomy 21 Program. Now an outgoing 3-year-old, Charlotte loves music and making lots of new friends at preschool! Charlotte is motivated, determined and loves her big brother, Geno. “The Trisomy 21 Program has been amazing in guiding us with her learning and development,” says Charlotte’s mom. “Everyone is so wonderful with the kids and treats us like family.”

Gigi’s Story

GigiGigi, a sassy 15-year-old, loves to dance and spend time with her mom, Tracy. Tracy turned to CHOP’s Trisomy 21 Program for support dealing with Gigi’s secondary diagnosis: Down Syndrome Disintegrative Disorder. Now, the pair looks forward to special coffee dates after each clinic visit. New to the CHOP Buddy Walk®, the family can’t wait to join the fun at this year’s event and meet other teens with Down syndrome!

K’dyn’s Story

K'dynK’dyn is a big fan of his siblings: twin brother Aidyn and big sister Peyan. Although the 1-year-old has many health challenges — including a heart defect that will require surgery in the near future — he’s a happy baby, who loves playing with his toys and being tickled! With the help of the Trisomy 21 Program, he’s making big developmental strides: recently crawling, standing and clapping! His family participated in last year’s virtual event and can’t wait to join CHOP Buddy Walk® in person this year!

Kristina’s Story

KristinaFive-year-old Kristina is a joyful and determined little girl who loves to meet new people and play with her older brothers, Rowan and Carson. Kristina loves the movie Moana, strawberry ice cream and the Pittsburgh Steelers. She also enjoys dancing, playing with her dolls, swimming in the pool and reading books. Her family turned to CHOP’s Trisomy 21 Program for guidance at the recommendation of Kristina’s pediatrician. The active and talkative youngster is excited to start kindergarten this fall.

Mateo’s Story

MateoSeven-year-old Mateo is no stranger to Buddy Walk® — his family has participated in the national event annually since 2016. This year, they’ll walk for CHOP’s Trisomy 21 Program, where Mateo’s been a patient since he was a baby. Though he’s mostly nonverbal, Mateo is meeting many milestones, including recognizing sight words and reading his first book! Says his mom, Tanita, “We walk to celebrate our son and to bring awareness to the Down syndrome community.”

Mohamed’s Story

MohamedNine-year-old Mohamed likes to be the center of attention, and he loves to make people laugh. “Whenever he sees someone down, he wants to brighten their day,” says his big sister, Amira. This joyful little boy joined the Trisomy 21 Program at CHOP after a suggestion from a family friend, whose child also has Down syndrome. Mohamed loves clinic visits, where he can see the friendly staff and play with all the fun toys!

Navy’s Story

NavyNavy comes from a big family — including six older siblings! His parents are very active in supporting CHOP, which began when their oldest daughter was diagnosed with cancer. The family is participating in CHOP Buddy Walk® because “we want the kids to understand there’s more to life than what we give them,” says Navy’s mom. Although 15-month-old Navy needed surgery shortly after birth to correct duodenal atresia, he’s grown by leaps and bounds with the help of the Trisomy 21 Program. He can crawl, eat solid foods and even say a few words!

 

  • 2020 Champions

    Abby’s Story

    AbbyThe first three months of Abby’s life were spent in CHOP’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Now almost 2, Abby is a healthy, energetic toddler who loves reading, Sesame Street and her rocking horse, “Thunder.” Abby came to the Trisomy 21 clinic as a baby. She sees multiple CHOP specialists, and through physical, occupational and speech therapy, continues to develop — she already knows 25 signs! Last year, Abby’s CHOP Buddy Walk® team raised almost $5,000 for the Trisomy 21 Program. With the program’s support, Abby’s parents hope she’ll achieve her future dreams, have a fulfilling job and help her community see the benefits of inclusion.

    Bryant’s Story

    BryantKnown to his family as “the mayor,” 4-year-old Bryant is funny and kind and loves being the center of attention! He also loves swimming and music. When he’s finished strumming his toy guitar, Bryant will make sure to bow and wait for applause. Bryant’s best friend is his older brother; “brother” was one of his first words. Since then, he’s learned many more words and loves talking to his family. When Bryant first visited the Trisomy 21 Program, the program’s director told his parents that with support, Bryant could accomplish all his future goals. “We knew we were in the right place,” says Bryant’s mom.

    Derek’s Story

    DerekFive-year-old Derek is silly, empathetic and determined. He loves kindergarten and playing with his new friends. Derek’s been a patient of the Trisomy 21 Program since he was 6 months old, and continues to see specialists in developmental pediatrics, gastroenterology, hematology and ear, nose and throat. “We are so lucky to have this amazing program in our backyard,” Derek’s mom says. Even though the CHOP Buddy Walk® is virtual this year, his mom says, “We wouldn’t miss celebrating Derek and all of his amazing friends. Like our team name says, we’re ‘doing it for Derek’!”

    Josh’s Story

    JoshIf you watched Josh, 9, play basketball, you’d never know he entered the world at only three pounds. This Harlem Globetrotters fan is now often found practicing his b-ball skills or playing tag with his friends — as long he gets to be “it”! Josh sees multiple CHOP specialists, all coordinated through the Trisomy 21 Program. When he was diagnosed with celiac disease and apraxia — a speech disorder — his mom was grateful that the Trisomy 21 Program was there to help Josh meet these challenges head on. “There is no greater relief as a parent than knowing a trained team is making sure your child’s needs will never go overlooked,” she says.

    Lila’s Story

    LilaSassy, determined and empathetic, 3-year-old Lila is a big fan of the Trisomy 21 Program — she’s always ready with a fist-bump for her favorite staff members. Lila’s come a long way since she took her first steps in the clinic hallway. Now she can run and jump and even takes gymnastics! When she’s not playing with her older siblings, she’s caring for her dolls or dancing to her favorite Disney movie. Lila takes speech therapy and communicates through verbal and sign language. Her family is grateful for the support of the Trisomy 21 Program. “They take the time to know her,” says Lila’s mom. “They want the best for her.”

    Paxtyn’s Story

    PaxtynPaxtyn is a spitfire of energy; always dancing, singing and talking! Some of her self-created routines have been broadcast on YouTube, which 3-year-old Paxtyn loves to watch. The preschooler loves to help her older sisters Payton, 13, and Paige, 12, work on projects; she knows about 80 words in sign language; and recently learned how to walk up steps on her own. Since the family’s first visit to the Trisomy 21 Program at CHOP, “we fell in love with Dr. Downes and all the staff,” her mom says. “Paxtyn gets very excited when we tell her she has an appointment.”

    Ravi’s Story

    RaviRavi, 14, enjoys swimming, basketball, dancing and music — so much so that he dreams of one day being cast on The Voice Kids! He’s also a big eater and loves cooking. In fact, Ravi recently learned how to crack an egg by himself! Milestones like this are celebrated by Ravi, his family and his team at the Trisomy 21 Program, which has been instrumental in helping Ravi achieve his goals. This fall, he’s looking forward to high school, where he’ll attend the same school as his older brother. Ravi’s positivity was awarded in eighth grade when he received the principal’s Lighthouse Award, which goes to a student that serves as a “beacon of light,” spreading positivity throughout the school.

  • 2019 Champions

    Audrey

    Audrey

    At 2½ years old, Audrey loves splashing in water, petting her cat, watching Sesame Street and eating goldfish crackers.

    Brody

    Brody

    When Brody was born, his parents were shocked to learn he had Down syndrome. Today, they’ve learned to embrace the unexpected with their 12-year-old son.

    Eve

    Eve

    For 15-year-old Eve, every day is a new adventure and she can’t wait to see what’s next: fashion, sports or travel.

    Grace

    Grace

    Grace is a happy, friendly 2-year-old who loves to wave and smile at strangers. She also loves music, balls and her baby dolls.

    Gregory

    Gregory

    For 4-year-old Gregory, the CHOP Buddy Walk® is like his special holiday, when he sees all his favorite people and enjoys his favorite activities.

    Jasmin

    Jasmin

    Jasmin has come a long way since her first CHOP Buddy Walk® in 2004. Today, the 16-year-old is a 10th grader who loves dance, Special Olympics and her family.

    Jeremiah

    Jeremiah

    After an unexpected diagnosis of Down syndrome, Jeremiah’s parents celebrate each significant milestone in their 16-month-old’s life with a theme party.

    Kailani

    Kailani

    Kailani, 9, can be described many ways: outgoing, friendly, fearless. But the word she likes best is “amazing” because it reminds her of a contest she won.

    Kendall

    Kendall

    Kendall, 2, is thriving with Down syndrome and serves as an inspiration for new parents learning to embrace their child’s diagnosis.

    Neva

    Neva

    At 11 years old, Neva is confident and full of joy. The trailblazing preteen is ready for anything with the support of her close-knit family.

  • 2018 Champions

    Aadi

    Aadi

    First grade was a turning point for 7-year-old Aadi — and the start of new milestones in his development.

    Aidan

    Aidan

    Breakthroughs happen every day for 1-year-old Aidan and his family can’t wait to see what he discovers next.

    Emilio

    Emilio

    Not much can contain the whirlwind known as Emilio. At 6½ years old, he’s the de-facto mayor at his school: Everyone knows his name.

    Eric

    Eric

    26-year-old Eric loves swimming, playing basketball and working in the store he owns with his mom.

    Hazel

    Hazel

    At 21-months-old, Hazel is a bright, happy baby who loves to smile, wave and meet new people.

    Lily

    Lily

    A devoted sports fan, 15-year-old Lily will lead a team of her own this fall at the CHOP Buddy Walk®.

    Nate

    Nate

    A hobby in photography has grown into a small business for 22-year-old Nate, who hopes to one day get an apartment of his own.

    Regan

    Regan

    The future is bright for 18-month-old Regan. She loves her baby doll, her dog Walter, and making people laugh.

    Rosie

    Rosie

    Rosie, 10, was born to be a star. With the support of her family and friends, she’s making a name for herself at school and in the community.

  • 2017 Champions

    Ava

    Ava

    A keen negotiator with a kind heart, 10-year-old Ava lives her life with vigor as she enjoys her favorite things.

    Celia

    Celia

    As a high-energy 4-year-old, Celia is conquering the world one obstacle at a time.

    Evan

    Evan

    With a magnetic personality, 6-year-old Evan makes friends easily and loves school.

    Giulianna

    Giulianna

    With her kind soul and gentle spirit, 9-year-old Giulianna wants to change the world.

    Kara

    Kara

    Kara, 12, was the first student with Down syndrome to be “mainstreamed” in Upper Darby School District.

    Kate

    Kate

    Since starting high school, 18-year-old Kate has flourished academically and socially.

    Michael

    Michael

    Michael, 20, is friendly and outgoing – and has a very bright future.

    Porter

    Porter

    After a slow start, 5-year-old Porter is on his way to his next adventure.

    Stephanie

    Stephanie

    No matter the obstacle, 24-year-old Stephanie is ready to meet the challenge.

    Steven

    Steven

    Steven, 19, is determined to make his dream of college come true.

    Teddy

    Teddy

    Teddy’s enthusiasm is infectious – whether he’s doing a school project, playing piano or just making people smile.