Anthony Como — who won the City Council seat for the 30th District in a 2008 special election — will be participating in his second National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) New York City Buddy Walk on Saturday, Sept. 17.
Como began researching the NDSS in 2014 when he and his wife found out that his yet-to-be-born son Joseph was diagnosed with Down syndrome while in the womb.
“We got involved with NDSS during the course of my wife’s pregnancy,” Como said. “At the time the doctors were suggesting terminating the pregnancy and that really got me mad. Nothing would make us more happy than to have this baby. That’s the best thing we every decided to do.”
Two years later and Joseph is a happy, healthy toddler who is beginning to walk and is the pride of his family.
Como and his team of walkers, the J Walkers — a play on words about Como’s time as an assistant district attorney, and the walking they do for Joseph — are gearing up for the Buddy Walk to help raise awareness and money for Down syndrome. Como has made it a goal to make sure that his son, and every other person with Down syndrome, is treated just like everyone else.
“It’s one of the reasons we got involved from the very beginning,” he said. “We want to let people to know that being different isn’t a bad thing.”
So far, Como has raised $5,620, while the J Walkers raised a total of $7,595 for the NDDS, and is currently ranked as the top team. He hopes to surpass his team’s 2015 total of nearly $14,000 and bring even more awareness to this subject.
The New York City Buddy Walk kicks off at The Great Hill in Central Park and participants walk approximately one mile through the park. After the walk, family and friends are invited to a big festival in the park with games, refreshments, live entertainment and more for everyone to enjoy.
“It’s a great way to get the word out, you get to get people involved. It’s a great day, they have games and a DJ for the kids,” Como said of the Buddy Walk. “People make a party out of it. I enjoy to getting involved with the walk itself because it’s a way for everyone to see you’re not the only one out there, you’re not the only family going through this. When you see everyone walking for the same cause it has a profound effect.”
Como is very grateful for the support he has received from the community he has found with the NDSS and the Buddy Walk. They have helped him and his family with many questions they have had. Como and his family hope to pass along that support and knowledge to others this year and in future years.
Como had served in the City Council through December 2008; he had lost the seat to current Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley in the November general election of that year.
To support Como and make a tax-deductible donation, visit his donation page.