50 teams raise money for Down syndrome at today's walk in Boardman


Curtis Herman might not be a household name like LeBron James, but he often receives celebrity treatment when he visits one of Austintown’s big-box stores.

“He’s a very exciting, energetic 9-year-old kid who likes to do things all of his peers do,” said his mother, Heidi Herman of Lake Milton. “Curtis thinks he’s like every other kid.”

One source of enjoyment for Curtis, who has Down syndrome, is visiting the Walmart store on Mahoning Avenue, where he’s a familiar figure who often enjoys shaking people’s hands. Many customers talk to and greet him in return without alluding to his condition, but that’s the point, Heidi contends.

Another source of fun for the boy and his family was being in Saturday’s seventh annual Buddy Walk of the Valley at Shops at Boardman Park.

Hosting the four-hour event was the Down Syndrome Association of the Valley, a Boardman-based nonprofit organization that offers advocacy, support services, educational opportunities and resources for those with the condition and their families.

An estimated 2,000 participants and volunteers took part individually or as part of about 50 teams in the 1-mile walk and fundraiser to increase awareness of and funding for programs to benefit people with Down syndrome and their families.

At least 150 attendees were from area Walmart stores, and Walmart was a major sponsor, noted Michele Jones, DSAV’s president and co-founder.

Read more about the event and the children it's for in Sunday's Vindicator or on Vindy.com.

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