About 6,000 attendees celebrated the triumphant life stories of people with Down syndrome and their families at the 17th Happy Walk for Down Syndrome, held recently at the SMX Convention Center in Manila.
Happy Walk is held in celebration of the National Syndrome Consciousness Month and is an annual activity that promotes awareness, acceptance, and inclusivity of persons with Down syndrome into society.
The event was organized by the Down Syndrome Association of the Philippines, Inc., in partnership with SM Cares. It featured performances by children affected with the condition, celebrity performances, and fun interactive booths. A parade around the SM Mall of Asia complex followed after the program, allowing children with Down syndrome, together with their families, to interact with the shoppers and tenants of the mall.
Gracing the event were SM Prime Holdings chairman of the executive committee Hans Sy, together with US Ambassador to the Philippines H.E. Sung Kim and Ambassador-designate for the Royal Thai Embassy, H.E. Vasin Ruangprateepsaeng, who have both long supported the advocacies of SM and DSAPI.
“Having a child with Down syndrome has been one of the most remarkable experiences for me, as well as for countless parents and families. Some experiences can be so powerful that they have long-lasting and life-changing impacts on our lives,” shared DSAPI chairman Elmer F. Lapeña.
Simultaneously, SM City Bacolod staged its Happy Walk as well.
“At SM, we recognize the ever-changing needs of the members of the community where we are present, and the more we celebrate our relationship with groups like DSAPI, the more that we understand what needs to be developed in making a welcoming mall, including persons with disability,” said Bien Mateo, senior vice president of SM Supermalls and director for SM Cares Program on PWDs.
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