Photos:Katherine Frey/The Washington Post
When then-Nashville Predators head coach Barry Trotz and his wife Kim gave birth to Nolan, they soon found out he was born with down syndrome. While his son was growing up in school, Barry helped found the Nashville chapter of Best Buddies. While Nolan was a member, Trotz founded “Strollin with Nolan” as a fundraising event for the chapter, a tradition that he brought over to Best Buddies in the Capital Region.
As a former Best Buddies officer in high school, I can say that the organization is top-notch. I grew up with ADHD and always struggled making friends. When I first participated, I was matched with a buddy and it helped me make new friends as a freshmen in high school. From sophomore year on, I became an officer and helped plan events and help match the buddies up.
FROM THE CAPITALS
Washington Capitals fans are invited to participate in the Best Buddies Friendship Walk: Capital Region as members of team “Strollin’ with Nolan” on Saturday, Oct. 21, at 8:30 a.m. The team is participating in the walk in honor of head coach Barry Trotz’s son Nolan, a Best Buddies chapter member.
Best Buddies International is a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating opportunities for friendship, integrated employment and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). The goal of the 5K Walk is to raise awareness and funds to support individuals with IDD.
“While unfortunately we are unable to attend the walk, we are proud to serve as honorary chairs and want to extend our heartfelt thanks to participating fans,” said Trotz. “Best Buddies has had a tremendous impact on Nolan’s life, as well as countless other participants, from peers to buddies and beyond. Their programing positively influences many lives, and the awareness and funding the walk brings to the organization is instrumental to their continued success.”
On Oct. 21, participants will walk in the contingency with Caps mascot Slapshot Red Rockers and Washington Wizards mascot G-Wiz. Participants must register at www.StrollinWithNolan.com. There is no registration fee. Event-day check-in begins at 7 a.m., and opening ceremonies begin at 8:15 a.m. on the National Mall near the National Gallery of Art East Building (Madison Drive NW and 3 rd Street SW).
The 25 th Strollin’ with Nolan registrant will win a stick signed by Capitals forward T.J. Oshie. In addition, Best Buddies will raffle a stick signed by goaltender Braden Holtby on the day of the walk. All registrants will be eligible for entry into the raffle, whether they fundraise or not.
In addition, the first place fundraiser will receive four tickets to a regular season Capitals game, the second place fundraiser will receive a Capitals jersey autographed by the team, while the third place fundraiser will receive a Capitals hockey stick autographed by the team.
The Friendship Walk will take place along the National Mall, highlighted by a view of D.C.’s monuments and memorials. Following the event, there will be a finish line celebration with food, beverages, dancing and activities for all ages, concluding by noon.
Best Buddies Capital Region hopes to have more than 2,500 participants lace up their shoes to walk for friendship and inclusion. The Walk is expected to raise $370,000 for Best Buddies Capital Region’s School Friendship, Citizens, Jobs, and Ambassadors programs.
Since 2009, more than 70,000 participants have walked in more than 26 states, raising more than $5 million for Best Buddies. Proceeds from the Friendship Walk play a fundamental part in funding Best Buddies’ state programs that provide one-to-one friendships, leadership development and integrated job opportunities for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. This year, our programs will work to create promising opportunities for more than 350,000 people in all 50 states.
By Michael Marzzacco