NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Families from all across the country will take part in the National Down Syndrome Society’s annual Buddy Walk in Central Park on Saturday.

The event raises money for vital programs and promotes acceptance for people with special needs.

“We’re celebrating our 25th anniversary of the walk today in Central Park, and, you know, we started this walk in 1995 to include and value the acceptance of individuals with Down syndrome, and today we’re going to be celebrating, dancing and having a fantastic day in Central Park,” said Kandi Pickard, president and CEO of the National Down Syndrome Society.

Down syndrome is the most commonly occurring chromosomal condition. Approximately 1 in every 700 babies in the United States is born with Down syndrome — about 6,000 each year. Down syndrome occurs when an individual has a full or partial extra copy of chromosome 21. This additional genetic material alters the course of development and causes the characteristics associated with Down syndrome.

Michelle Sagan, Buddy Walk program director, says they’re expecting about 2,500 people to attend Saturday’s walk.

Over 300 Buddy Walk events are held across the country and around the world.

For more information about Buddy Walk and the National Down Syndrome Society, visit


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