Addie and Alex are two years apart and share a very typical but also special sibling bond. In addition to their special love for dance, Alex and Addie work together to spread the word about the importance of inclusion. Addie is a fierce advocate for Alex. “[She] is a very caring and funny sister,” Alex shared.
The Kearns family has been participating in the Columbus Buddy Walk for 15 years, raising thousands of dollars for the Down Syndrome Association of Central Ohio (DSACO). In 2017, Addie launched Buddies Inc. to help with raising more funds and awareness. She is the youngest Buddy Walk team captain in Columbus. We asked Addie what inspired her to start advocating for her brother and others with disabilities and she said, “When I was in second grade I noticed people not being treated fairly. They’re the same as us and should be included. All Down syndrome is, is a copy of their 21st chromosome. We’re more alike than we are different.”
2017 was a busy year for Buddies Inc. They organized ice cream socials, participated in World Down Syndrome Day, hosted a vendor table of artwork created by Addie, and watched on Facebook Live as Alex’s photo was featured at the Buddy Walk in New York City. Out of 3,000 submissions, Alex’s photo was chosen as one of the select few to feature in Times Square.
When Addie grows up, she is considering a few different career options — occupational therapist, dance therapy, or potentially working as an advocate. As for Alex, he hasn’t decided what we would like to do after college. In the meantime, he stays busy as the ball boy for the soccer team, playing basketball, spending time with friends, and learning new dances.
We asked Addie what was next for Buddies Inc. and she shared they will start raising funds for the 2019 Buddy Walk! Additionally, she hopes to increase her Instagram followers for @buddies._.inc and hopefully get her biggest role model @ellentv to follow her back!
Keep up the great work Addie and Alex! We love your enthusiasm and appreciate your desire to create a more inclusive world.