Los Angeles Angels host 15th annual Buddy Walk


During the offseason, Angel Stadium is not dormant as over 50 groups use the stadium for many different events. The Los Angeles Angels believe in giving back to community, and they do so by hosting these groups to help draw larger crowds.

One such event is the Buddy Walk, which is hosted by the Down Syndrome Association of Orange County. The 15th annual Buddy Walk at Angel Stadium was hosted on Sunday. This event is one of the biggest of the year for the DSAOC and it raises money to help people with Down syndrome and their families.

The Los Angeles Angels have played an integral part in this annual event for the last 13 years since the event was moved to Anaheim, when former Angels broadcaster Rex Hudler joined the cause. Hudler, whose 19-year old son Cade has Down syndrome, played an integral part in getting the group access to Angel Stadium, according to DSAOC executive director Kellie Perez.

Hudler and his wife Jennifer did a lot for DSAOC before Hudler left the Angels to become a broadcaster for the Kansas City Royals in 2011. His contributions were numerous for the DSAOC as Hudler’s status of being the voice of the Angels during their magical championship run in 2002 brought more awareness to Down syndrome and DSAOC.

“Rex and his wife Jennifer are wonderful people who helped us out a lot,” Perez said. “Rex would light up the stage with his personality, he is a very genuine person. He helped us to be able to be one of the first large groups to use the stadium for our annual Buddy Walk. The Angels have been very helpful to us, providing us with grants and allowing us to use the venue which is a very big draw. Plus the Angels staff is very helpful.”

Perez also said that another Angel who has also been very helpful is first baseman Albert Pujols, who has a step-daughter named Bella that has Down syndrome.

“Albert has been helping out since he got to Anaheim,” Perez said. “He always gives us a bunch of signed items that we can auction off. We’re hoping he will come out to our event one year, which would be a really big deal. Albert is a very nice person as well.”

Perez, who has served as the executive director for the past four years, also has a personal connection to Down syndrome, leading to her involvement with DSAOC.

“I have a 23-year-old daughter named Alex who has Down syndrome, and I realized one day that I wasn’t spending enough time with her as I had a really good job. But it kept me away from home a lot,” Perez said. “One day she called my mother “mom” because she was taking care of Alex so much while I worked. So I decided to get involved and things just started lining up and I became the development director. Now, I’m on the frontline supporting my daughter.”

This annual event takes place on the first Sunday of November every year at Angel Stadium and the money raised goes into the general budget for the DSAOC, which Perez says is used to fund all the programs and services the DSAOC provides.

“We do a lot of things to support children and adults with Down syndrome,” Perez said. “From prenatal care, supporting teachers, Down syndrome support groups, educational seminars and adult clinics to name a few. The Buddy Walk is a celebration for our families of people with Down syndrome. We have groups who walk in support of each person with Down syndrome to let them know that they are behind them. My daughter Alex has a group of 40-50 people walking with her in unity to celebrate her life. Many of them have donated money as well.”

The event featured a number of booths that had food, games and also different organizations that helped provide services for people with Down syndrome. Wristbands for the event cost $30 for adults (11 and up), $20 for kids 3-11 years old and children under three got in free.

The Buddy Walk began at approximately 11 a.m. today and lasted about 40 minutes. The walk was a half-mile trip in and around Angel Stadium. Come out and check out this worthwhile event next year and join the Angels by getting involved with the DSAOC to help support these amazing people.

If you want to get involved you can check out the DSAOC website at www.dsaoc.org and look at the upcoming events. You can also find out how to donate money in support of DSAOC as well on the website.

Down Syndrome Association of Orange County Buddy Walk in 2014.

Courtesy of Terrie Tavis

Stay tuned for the post-event Buddy Walk article featuring interviews from today’s participants and their families as well as photos. There will also be more articles in the upcoming weeks featuring other groups who the Los Angeles Angels support and allow to have fundraising events at Angel Stadium.