Join the virtual 5k to support Down Syndrome Association of Central Oklahoma - MetroFamily Magazine
MetroFamily Magazine

Where OKC parents find fun & resources

Join the virtual 5k to support Down Syndrome Association of Central Oklahoma

by Keely Mallory

I need accountability in my life … there I said it. As a full-time wife, mom, worker bee and part-time physical therapist, occupational therapist, speech therapist, teacher and nurse to my 4-year-old who has Down syndrome, working out is usually the first thing to get cut from the schedule.

I know everyone can understand this struggle as we are all in the middle of the same pandemic that has resulted in major life changes. So how can you make yourself and your workout a priority? The only thing that has worked for me is creating accountability for myself.

I sign up for a race, research a workout plan and get to training.

The financial commitment of signing up for a race has really helped me stay on track. It’s even better if you can find a race with a cause that is meaningful to you!

The Down Syndrome Association of Central Oklahoma’s 5k has been a motivator for me for the last four years. The 2016 race encouraged me to lose my baby weight. In 2017, I set a race time goal, and as a previous competitive runner, I knew that would keep me on track. I managed to surprise myself by winning my age group in 2018 and beating my race time goal by a minute!!

The 2019 race was a time for friends and family. The “Rhett’s Recruits” following and participation last year was so heartwarming and the support for DSACO families was definitely the main focus.

As with everything in 2020, the race this year will look a little different, but that is not to say it won’t or can’t be memorable. As the main fundraising opportunity for DSACO, support is needed now more than ever. Kids are in virtual school and social distancing is still imperative in order to protect this sensitive population. Resources and support for families are not as readily available; however, by donating or signing up for a race team you are making a difference.

All money stays right here and is used to support local families:

  • $5 provides a personalized tutoring session for a student with Down syndrome
  • $10 provides food in a microwave-based cooking class for one teen or adult with Down syndrome
  • $50 provides resources and support for a parent newly receiving a Down syndrome diagnosis for their child
  • $100 send two children with Down syndrome to Therapy Camp

About the 2020 event

Down Syndrome Association of Central Oklahoma will host the annual Down Syndrome 5k virtually on Sept. 26. This is the 26th year for the annual event, which attracts more than 6,000 people to celebrate acceptance and inclusion for individuals with Down syndrome. The virtual 5k will take place starting upon registration, ending at noon on Sept. 26, allowing runners to enter their virtual time at their convenience. Each runner will receive a t-shirt and the profile of a person who has Down syndrome to inspire their “run for a purpose.” Participation in the virtual 5k is $40 per runner.

In lieu of the event’s annual Inclusion Awareness Walk, a car “Parade of Inclusion” will take place in downtown Oklahoma City at 10 a.m. at the corner of Oklahoma City Boulevard and Robinson Avenue. The parade is FREE to participate in and all are welcome. Family teams, volunteers and community members are encouraged to decorate their vehicle to celebrate the individual and not the diagnosis. DSACO will host a contest for the best-decorated vehicle. Spirit volunteers will line the sidewalks of the parade route, socially distanced, to cheer on our families throughout the parade.

DSACO serves more than 900 families in the central Oklahoma area. Their mission is to raise awareness and provide resources as well as promote acceptance and inclusion for people with Down syndrome. For more information about DSACO awareness events, including the virtual 5K and parade, please visit www.dsfestivaland5k.com.

more stories