Clayton Dimmerling blows a kiss to the photographer during a recent interview for the PRT. Photo by Jo Dean

On September 18, 2021, six-year-old Clayton Dimmerling, of Elgin, was featured in a video presentation on the Times Square Jumbotron Screen in New Yourk City. The presentation by the National Down Syndrome Society featured 500 photographs from 50 states with images of children, teens, and adults with Down Syndrome. Clayton was shown in his blue Texas Ranger Little League uniform.

Clayton is the youngest of nine siblings in this vibrant, active family. He participates in all the family activities and enjoys friendship and support from this community and the other children who share the same activities.

His mother, Charlie Dimmerling, home schools and manages her children’s many activities including 4-H, T-ball, soccer, gymnastics, swimming, and church. The Dimmerling family expressed their deep gratitude and appreciation for the loving and thoughtful support they receive from our local community. 

The Times Square Jumbotron video kicked off the Buddy Walk that day in New York City. The National Buddy Walk Program, organized by the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS), began in 1995. As of 2017, the Buddy Walk had grown to more than 330,000 participants raising $14.2 million in more than 250 events around the world. 

The Buddy Walks mission is “to promote acceptance and inclusion of people with Down Syndrome; to raise the funds necessary to develop innovative and effective programs; and to enhance the position of the Down Syndrome community, enabling us to positively influence local and national policy and practice,” according to the website of the Down Syndrome Association of Greater Charlotte. 

In 2021, Buddy Walks will be held in over 200 cities. The Southern Arizona Network for Down Syndrome (SANDS) will be sponsoring this year’s Tucson Buddy Walk on Sunday, November 14. The walk, their largest fundraiser, will start at Mica Mountain High School, 10800 E. Valencia Rd. Tucson AZ from 12:00p.m. – 3:30p.m. For more information about participating or donating, contact

Another important date is World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD), held annually on March 21, as declared by the United Nations General Assembly, to raise public awareness about Down Syndrome. On WDSD, the Dimmerlings and other families get together and wear crazy t-shirts and socks connecting with other families worldwide. 

Down Syndrome is a genetic disorder described by Mayo Clinic as “a genetic chromosome 21 disorder causing developmental and intellectual delays…a genetic disorder caused when a normal cell division results in extra genetic material from chromosome 21.” Down Syndrome, also known as trisomy 21, has been known to man for thousands of years. It is estimated that the incidence of Down Syndrome is 1 in 1000 live births worldwide.