Hundreds attend inaugural race benefiting Down syndrome

Posted at 10:34 AM, Oct 06, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-06 11:34:10-04

GREENBRIER, Tenn. (WTVF) — Hundreds of people came together in Robertson County to show their support for individuals with Down syndrome.

At the first-ever benefit race for the Down Syndrome Association of Middle Tennessee (DSAMT), organizers hoped to promote understanding and acceptance.

During "The Race to Include" held at Veterans Motorplex in Greenbrier, those with Down syndrome were able to participate by being trophy kings and queens and official starters of the evening.

Veterans Motorplex owners Sandy and Jerry Criswell wanted the event to go beyond raising money for DSAMT, but to provide a place where individuals with Down syndrome and their families can enjoy the races and be included in speedway activities.

"Just give them a change, they could do most of what anyone else can do," Jerry Criswell said.

At the event, there was a silent auction, live music and food. One hundred percent of auction proceeds and a portion of ticket sales went toward DSAMT.

Each year, about 6,000 babies are born with Down syndrome in the United States. For parents like Duncan Williams, their biggest fear for their children is that they will be treated differently.

"It does come to your mind as a parent, you want your child to have all the opportunities that every other child would have," Williams said. "That process of thought and inclusion, it's something that's tremendous for us and our family. We're happy to be a part of anything that supports the community."

Organizers hope to hold the event every year.