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Oklahoma Christian community rallies to support Team Buggy Jo

With the upcoming National Down Syndrome Festival and 5K, Oklahoma Christian University students and faculty unite to support one of their own.

The upcoming festival and 5K provides Oklahoma Christian students an opportunity to support Team Buggy Jo.

3-year-old Josiah Matthew Kern, Buggy Jo, is the son of Oklahoma Christian psychology professor Bobby Kern.

Kern said their family continues to gain more support each year for Buggy Jo for this event.

“Every year we get more people to become a part of team Buggy Jo,” Kern said. “We are becoming one of the largest presences at this event each year.”

On Oct. 1 at 8 a.m. the festival will kick off with a 5K at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark. All the proceeds from the race will go to the National Down Syndrome Association of Central Oklahoma.

The funds will be used to make various activities and programs possible for the National Down Syndrome Association in Central Oklahoma.

Freshman Ashley Cannon is one of the students who will be running in the 5K.

“For me, 5Ks are really fun. It’s a good way to get to know people, to meet people and it’s in support of a good cause,” Cannon said. “I just enjoy the atmosphere. I don’t run the whole thing all the time. I enjoy getting to meet people and talk to them, see people enjoying themselves and having fun.”

Everyone is welcome to participate in this event, whether they are a runner or non-runner. All Oklahoma Christian students interested in running are encouraged to represent Team Buggy Jo when signing up.

Kern said the festival is important to his family.

“It’s a blessing to have the OC community to support my family, my kids, especially Buggy Jo,” Kern said. “To have students love on him is such an encouragement.”

Kern also said the event helps spread information and awareness about Down Syndrome.

“It’s a great chance to bring awareness about Down Syndrome,” Kern said. “It gives people the opportunity to learn about something they don’t necessarily know.”

Kern said his favorite part of the day is the DJ booth and dance floor.

“It’s so fun to watch all the families have fun,” Kern said. “There’s a bunch of kids with down syndrome dancing on the dance floor. It’s a great time.”

Following the race, everyone is invited to participate in the Awareness Walk, which is a lap around the ballpark, at 9:30 a.m.

The festival includes booths with family-friendly activities like face painting, games, and a petting zoo.

Students interested in participating in the 5K can sign up for $35. Students will receive Ethos credit for volunteering at the festival and can sign up with at the National Down Syndrome Association of Central Oklahoma’s website.

For questions about the event, contact Bobby Kern.

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