Brothers Noah (left) and Blake Chick of Nehalem play at Quatat Park at last year’s Buddy Walk at the Beach. (Photo by LeeAnn Neal/Rocky Intertidal CoCreative)

SEASIDE – Sept. 22 is your chance to enjoy a party at the beach while supporting those with special needs on the north Oregon and south Washington coasts.

The festivities are scheduled for that day at Quatat Park during the Annual Buddy Walk at the Beach.

The walk is one of more than 300 such events to be held across the nation this fall to raise awareness and funds for programs that benefit people with Down syndrome and their families.

“It’s very important to make a difference for people with Down syndrome and other special needs by participating in the Buddy Walk,” said North Coast Down Syndrome Network Board President Debbie Sherman of Nehalem. “The focus is not on our disabilities, but on our abilities that count. At the Buddy Walk, we all walk together.”

A Neah-Kah-Nie High School cheerleader dances with a participant at last year’s Buddy Walk at the Beach. (Photo by LeeAnn Neal/Rocky Intertidal CoCreative)

While NCDSN is affiliated with the National Down Syndrome Society, which founded the National Buddy Walk Program, it doesn’t restrict itself to serving only those with Down syndrome, said Sherman. “We’re here to help any families with special needs.” The group’s service area extends from the Long Beach Peninsula in Washington to Lincoln County.

Sherman is joined on the NCDSN Board by fellow north Tillamook County residents Bill Sherman, Julie Chick, Stacey Schuring, Tracie Bailey and Vicki Chase.

NCDSN outreach includes financial assistance in the form of food gift cards for families whose loved ones with special needs are in the hospital in Portland and a lending library headquartered at Nehalem Elementary School available to anyone who would like to use it.

The Buddy Walk is NCDSN’s primary fundraising event. Last year it used a portion of money raised to purchase apps and protective covers for several iPads donated to Nehalem Elementary and Garibaldi Grade schools. The Mudd Nick, Eugene Schmuck and Life to the Max foundations purchased the iPads, three of which are used in Nehalem Elementary’s LifeSkills and Learning Center, which serves students with special needs.

This year’s Buddy Walk will feature guest speaker Dr. Joe Pinter, director of Child Development & Rehab Center at the Doernbecher Children’s Hospital Down Syndrome Clinic in Portland, as well as special guest Miss Oregon, Nichole Mead.

Pinter received his medical degree from UCLA before completing his residency in pediatrics at the University of Washington and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. He completed a pediatric neurology residency at Boston Children’s Hospital/Harvard-Longwood Neurological Training Program. His research has focused on neuroimaging in congenital brain anomalies and Down syndrome and his clinical interests include Down syndrome, Tourette syndrome and congenital brain anomalies.

Those who participate in the event will have the chance to meet and have their photos taken with Miss Oregon.

Lori Mersereau of Nehalem displays work by the popular Buddy Walk at the Beach face painter during last year’s event. (Photo by LeeAnn Neal/Rocky Intertidal CoCreative)

The Buddy Walk at the Beach will also include the main event, a walk from Quatat Park to the beach and back, the ever popular face painting with Bizzy the Clown, lunch and a raffle.

Registration costs $12 per adult and $6 per child, and includes a T-shirt, lunch and more. Those who preregister will get a number in line for face painting.

The North Coast Down Syndrome Network is happy to accept sponsorships as well as to work with volunteers. Donations are tax-deductible.

For those who haven’t preregistered, registration at the event will begin at 10 a.m.

For more information, contact Sherman at 503-368-6892 or or visit

About rockyintertidalcocreative

Rocky Intertidal CoCreative is a boutique marketing and public relations company based on the north Oregon coast.

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