PDT Staff Writer
Having your picture on the big screen at Times Square in New York City is most likely a “never in a lifetime” event for most people. But Patrick Lanzi, a tenth grade student at Portsmouth West High School will beat the odds when he is in the Big Apple this weekend.
“Every year, all over the country they do this event called The Buddy Walk, which is for Down Syndrome,” Patrick’s mother, Shelly Clark, said. “New York City has, every year, a huge Buddy Walk to promote Down Syndrome Awareness Month which is October. My son, who is 15, has Down Syndrome. I submitted his picture and out of over a thousand entries they select 200, and a photo of him and his girlfriend was selected. I thought it was pretty cool.”
“They do a big video presentation on Times Square,” Clark said. “Everyone gathers around it and it is a really cool presentation, prior to us getting on buses and going to Central Park for the walk.”
Patrick will appear in the bright lights of Broadway on Saturday, Sept. 22, as part of the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) annual Times Square Video Presentation, which embodies the NDSS mission to promote the value, acceptance and inclusion of people with Down syndrome.
Clark said she sent an email to Patrick’s teacher at Portsmouth West, and she announced it to the class.
“The class was cheering, and Patrick had no idea, and so he was very surprised,” Clark said. “He came home and he was so excited. When he gets excited and happy it’s off the chart.”
Clark, who recently moved to the area from Virginia, was complimentary of the teachers and administration at Portsmouth West.
“They have been so good about working with me,” Clark said. “You can really be proud of this community and how they have received him. It has just been awesome. They are going to send home flyers to all of the students and their families to educate them on Down Syndrome.”
The Times Square video presentation kicks off Down Syndrome Awareness Month in October. The video presentation will be followed by the 18th Annual New York City Buddy Walk in Central Park. This year, Buddy Walk events will be held in more than 250 cities across the country, as well as select international locations, in and around October. For information about the NDSS Buddy Walk Program, visit www.buddywalk.org or call 800-221-4602.
The National Down Syndrome Society is a nonprofit organization with more than 350 affiliates nationwide representing over 400,000 Americans who have Down syndrome. For more information visit www.ndss.org.
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 232, or at firstname.lastname@example.org