December Newsletter
Buddy Walk

Thank you to everyone who helped with fundraising for Knoxville Buddy Walk 2017, together we raised a total of nearly $66,000!!! After expenses, total proceeds are approximately $51,000. A page explaining some of the programs DSAG supports throughout the year can be seen by clicking here. If you are interested in helping plan Buddy Walk 2018, be looking for more information in March of 2018. Thanks again for all of your hard work and support! 
Top 2017 Buddy Walk Fundraisers
First Place Fundraiser
Decker Stone with a total of
$5,160.00

My name is Becca Stone and my husband is Ed Stone, we are Mom and Dad to Decker and her 3 sisters. We have been married 10 years & live here in Knoxville, TN. We have four wonderful girls. Decker just turned 4 in October & we also have 2.5 year old triplet girls, Barrett, Sutton and Bailey. This house is bumping at all times, to say the least!

Decker, was diagnosed with Down syndrome shortly after she was born. This was by far our biggest and best surprise at that time in our lives. She was healthy and strong from the get go and has continued on ever since. She has a heart of gold and is the happiest little girl we know! She loves to play with her baby dolls, stuffed animal puppy dogs, doctor everybody up at our house with her little Doc McStuffins kit and she loves to dance & sing. She is so full of life, nothing gets by her these days. She breaks into the pantry when we’re not looking, steals chips & fruit snacks and demands to watch her favorite show. Yikes! Seems way more typical than not to us! From 3 to 4 years old has been the most fun yet watching her blossom & grow. She started preschool at Cedar Bluff Preschool last year which has helped her grow so much! Last year she was slow to warm up, but this year she acts like she owns the place! It is so wonderful to see her confidence these days. She is learning to love to play with other friends, initiate play with them, and she’s actually talking at school! Yay! We love to celebrate all of it! These are some of our proudest moments! She is doing so beautifully & her sisters are a huge part of her development and growth. They don’t give her a break for a second! They never stop talking & demand Decker's attention for her to engage and play with them constantly! We are so thankful for this. It challenges her & down right annoys her a lot of the time, but we know this is part of the reason she is doing so well. They love her to the moon and back. Her sisters want to be around her or talk about her all day long. After school, she is so HAPPY to see them too!!! She says “hi sissy” about 50 times! It is truly the sweetest time for our family.

This part of our story is the same as last year, but I can’t change it, I will never forget those first few days & the support we received. Ed and I not knowing ahead of time that Decker had Down syndrome was a bit of a shock to say the least. We weren't sad or disappointed, but we instantly felt behind & uninformed about what we needed to know to take care of Decker they way she needed us to. We came home from the hospital, and the research began! One of the first things I checked on was a local support group. I found the Down Syndrome Awareness Group of East Tennessee (DSAG) and I think I called five or six times in one day like a crazy person! We were so excited/anxious to connect with other families that had children or friends with Down syndrome. Before I got off the phone on that very first phone call we were committed to coming to the annual Christmas at Dollywood the first of December. I will never forget that day! Decker was 7 weeks old & when we walked in, we were welcomed with open arms by every single family there! We instantly connected & DSAG has been family ever since! It was so eye opening to see these truly amazing individuals, different ages and in different stages of life, and how capable, and full of joy and love they all were. I had four or five little ones climb right up in my lap like I had known them for years! It was such a special moment, one I will never forget. DSAG is an unbelievable group of families that serve as strong advocates for their kids and others with Down syndrome, as well as a invaluable resource no matter the age/stage of life of your child and/or friend. We enjoy all of the annual events and it is so cool to watch these kids grow up and overcome anything they please! The character of these individuals is truly astounding! We are so proud and grateful to be part of this organization and highly recommend it to other families. We love our DSAG Family so much & cherish all of our friendships & the time we get to spend with them! We have been blessed beyond belief & we give God all the glory.

Love,
The Stone Family

Second Place Fundraiser
Harper Reid Wilson
with a total of $3,217.00

Harper Reid Wilson is one and a half years old and lives in Lancing, Tennessee, with her Daddy Travis, Momma Leah, and twin sister Olivia Kate. Harper has the most common form of Down syndrome – trisomy 21. Harper loves playing with her sister, taking 4-wheeler rides with her papaw, and swimming at her mammy’s.  Her favorite foods are mac and cheese, green beans, and she never says no to dessert. She also LOVES clapping when people say “YAY!”
She enjoyed her first year participating in Buddy Walk Knoxville, and looks forward to the many years ahead!
Third Place Fundraiser
Luke Sales
with a total of $2,978.00

Luke joined our family last September. Since that time, he has grown into a lovable, curious, and energetic little boy. Luke enjoys scooting around the house, flipping over rugs, being social, chasing the dog, and babbling adamantly at his parents. Having just celebrated his first birthday, he continues to grow and amaze us all with his ability to learn and apply new skills. He truly has no limits. We enjoy his big smiles and fun personality. He is always ready to brighten your day, no matter the circumstances. Truly, Luke has become the heart of our family.
  Luke is the son of Rachel and David Sales and lives in Knoxville.
Fourth Place Fundraiser
with a total of $2,910.00
Izzie Griffin
Izzie loves her 3 Bigs: Bay, Addie, and Asher. Her favorite activities are dancing, gymnastics, and high fives. Team Izzie looks forward to the KNOXVILLE Buddy Walk every year. After adopting our girl 3 years ago, our love for our local Down syndrome community grows right along with our love for Izzie. What a joy she is in our life and what a ray of sunshine she has become in the lives of all who know her! We pray the Buddy Walk continues to grow and impact the community and we look forward to fundraising on behalf of our girl every year. Cheers to 2018, here’s to a year with even more acceptance and inclusion for our loved ones!
Izzie is the daughter of Joe and Lexie Griffin and lives in Knoxville. 
Typically, fourth place isn't recognized as a top fundraiser but Izzie only raised $68.00 less than our third place fundraiser! Way to go, Izzie!
Thank you to those who raised $1,000 or more for Buddy Walk 2017 
Harper Alm- $2,700.00
Morgan Holbert- $1,895.00
Cora Hall- $1,706.00
Savannah Kuhn-$1,665.00
Charlee Horner- $1,660.00
Kelaney Loveland-$1,621.00
Kaci Herron- $1,591.84
Addie Burgess-$ 1,438.02
Josie Saunders- $1,420.00
Elliott Park- $1,265.00
Zach Garratt- $1,250.00
Shane O'Connor-$1,030.00
D.A.D.S. will meet tonight
December 4
DADS will meet at-
Gondolier Pizza
7644 Mountain Grove Dr.
Knoxville, TN 37920
6-7:30pm

Dads, grandads, or anyone who is a father figure in the life of an individual with Ds are invited to be part of the group. 
DADS
Littles and Lattes
Wednesday, December 13
10-11:30 am
DSAG is excited to offer a program for our preschool age group. Littles and Lattes is designed to be a playgroup type setting for children with Ds (ages birth to 6 years) and their parents. Feel free to bring your own latte or enjoy the provided coffee. No RSVP is necessary. Thank you to First Baptist Concord's Helping Hands Ministry for providing the space for us to meet.
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Knox Extra Cool Moms
Maryville Mom's Night Out
Saturday, December 9 at 6PM
Sullivans Downtown
121 W Broadway Ave
Maryville, TN 37801

Mom's Night Out
Thursday, December 14 at 7pm
Smoky Mountain Brewery in Turkey Creek
11308 Parkside Dr.
Knoxville, TN 37934

Knox Extra Cool Moms Facebook page was created for Knoxville area moms of individuals with Ds to share information and social events. If you would like more information, look for them on Facebook.
The page is not managed by DSAG.
Upcoming Calendar of Events:
Tentative Event Dates for 2017-18:

December 4- DADS meeting
December 9- DSAG Day at Ripley's Aquarium
December 9- KECM Maryville Mom's Night Out
December 13- Littles and Lattes
December 14- KECM Mom's Night Out
December 25- Merry Christmas!
February 10- Parent workshop at ETCH
March 18- 3.21 Race
April 8- DSAG Dollywood Day
NDSC Spotlight

DSAG is excited to share some information from the 2017 NDSC conference with our members at a parent workshop on February 10, 2018.
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Look for more details soon.
Special Olympics
If you have a child with Ds age 8-18 years old who would like to participate in Spring 2018 Special Olympics but they do not have a school or organization they can compete with, please click here to receive more information.
They must live in Knox County, Anderson County or Oak Ridge.
Night to Shine

Night to Shine is an unforgettable prom night experience, centered on God’s love, for people with special needs ages 14 and older. On one night, February 9, 2018, more than 500 churches from around the world will come together to host Night to Shine for approximately 90,000 honored guests through the support of 175,000 volunteers!

Click here for more information
Next Chapter Book Club
The Next Chapter Book Club consists of small groups of adolescents and adults with disabilities who meet with volunteer facilitators on a regular basis in the community to "read to learn," socialize, and enjoy participation and discussion that focus on a book each group selects.

For more information click here.
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Knoxville Challenger Sports, Inc.

Knoxville Challenger Sports is an organization created to give opportunities to children and young adults with special needs. We are a non profit organization that began with Little League Challenger Baseball. Now we have grown to include basketball, golf, swimming and bowling.  It's Basketball season!!

Click here to learn more.

Yellow Key Art Center

Yellow Key Arts supports artists with developmental and intellectual delays. Teaching artists work side by side with participants to design, create, and market projects while providing quality visual and performing art education.

Click here to learn more about class schedules.