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Published October 05, 2013, 06:27 PM

Buddy Walk has tremendous turnout, raises money for Down Syndrome charity

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - The first ever Buddy Walk in Fargo moved inside the Scheels Arena, packing in a huge crowd.

By: WDAY Staff Reports, WDAY

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - The first ever Buddy Walk in Fargo moved inside the Scheels Arena, packing in a huge crowd.

More than 1,500 people showed up to the event, which promotes acceptance and inclusion for those with Down syndrome.

That is three times the number organizers expected.

In fact, there were too many to all walk around the concourse at the same time.

The Buddy Walk was put together by a group of local mothers of children with Down syndrome.

Nikki Knodel, Organizer: "I have a little boy with Down syndrome. He is three years old; he is just the greatest little boy ever. We just want to do everything we can for the individuals with Down syndrome in our community, with resources and support that is available. The support that the community has shown is just overwhelming."

A group of Davies High School students at the event encouraged people to sign the pledge to end the "R-word."

It is part of Project Unify, which reaches out to students with disabilities to include them in school activities.

Katie Spokely, Project Unify: "I don't think a lot of people understand the impact that their words can have. When you use this word in place of 'stupid' or 'dumb,' it's basically like using somebody's name in the same place. It demeans a person."

Organizers hoped to raise $21,000 from the event.

This morning, the total was at $63,000.

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