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Tentatively scheduled date: October 11th, 2020

The Down Syndrome Connection of the Bay Area’s (DSCBA) number one concern is always the safety and health of our members, volunteers and staff.  As you know, we are in times of uncertainty regarding the effects of the COVID-19 Virus. 

We are committed to follow the recommendations of our local public health departments which includes going virtual where safe social distancing can be difficult. Our hope is that by fall restrictions will be lifted, and we will be able to gather together to celebrate with all of you. 

Bay Area Step Up for Down Syndrome 

October is national Down Syndrome Awareness Month! The DSCBA celebrates by holding our annual Bay Area Step Up for Down Syndrome (SUDS) Walk and Family Picnic. This event brings more than 1,500 people together to celebrate acceptance, respect and inclusion for all. The walk is not only one of our largest fundraisers of the year, it is also an amazing event where families and friends can enjoy spending the afternoon together. At the walk's finish line, we celebrate the accomplishments, big or small, of all the participants with Down syndrome. The fun-filled day is packed with activities for all ages including carnival games, face painting, music, dancing and more. A designated area is available where everyone can set up their blankets or tents and enjoy a picnic or buy lunch and ice cream from food trucks. There are also fun photo ops with Star Wars, Avengers and Disney characters. We hope you'll save the date--Sunday October 11, 2020 at Pleasant Hill Middle School, Pleasant Hill--and join us!



Update from our 2019 Bay Area SUDS


You Stepped Up Big for DSCBA!

The month of October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month and each year we celebrate by hosting the Bay Area Step Up for Down Syndrome Walk & Family Picnic. The event on October 6, 2019 was a beautiful day filled with inspiring walkers, fun activities and record team fundraising accomplishments! 

We are truly humbled by the kindness of the community who contributed to the fundraising campaign. The generosity of over 1,700 people, including corporate matching and sponsorships, helped raise $224,000! And because of the strong fundraising performance, the Quest Foundation's challenge match grant was made possible.

Held at Pleasant Hill Middle School’s Track & Field, the festivities started off with Mayor Ken Carlson proclaiming October 6th as Down Syndrome Awareness Day in Pleasant Hill. Attendees were treated to main stage performances by Las Lomas High School Pep Band, California High School Drumline, Carondelet Cheer & Dance Teams, Be Exceptional Dance, and a special join-in Zumba dance performance by Yulissa Arescurenaga who is the first-ever Zumba Instructor with Down syndrome!

The top 10 fundraising teams were recognized at the podium and awarded prizes that had been generously donated by local businesses. First place winner, Team Ayala, had the honor of leading the walk with Oakland A’s mascot Stomper. Huge shout out to this amazing group who raised over $92,000 combined!


  • 1st: Team Ayala $16,488
  • 2nd: Tiny Tang Team $13,350
  • 3rd: Team Drucker $10,825
  • 4th: Glam Grace $10,325
  • 5th: Will Clark Superstars $10,290
  • 6th: Team Leah $9,095
  • 7th: Happy Kids Love to Talk $6,565
  • 8th: Team Navya $6,222
  • 9th: Team Keenan $5,055
  • 10th: Carter's Tribe $4,350

*All teams continued to fundraise through the end of the year. Amounts/standings shown here are as of 10/6/19 prize deadline.

Speaking of inspiration…the best part of the Step Up for Down Syndrome Walk was when we loudly and proudly cheered on our members as they crossed the finish line. Assemblymember Rebecca Bauer-Kahan personally congratulated participants with Down syndrome and gave them a certificate from the California State Assembly. Just like everyone else, our members are going to college, walking, starting preschool, working on a film set, eating solid foods, working for the DSCBA, making new friends, expressing their needs and so much more!

Participants were invited to stay the afternoon and enjoy free carnival games, cotton candy, mini golf, Taste of the World food trucks and more. Selfies with Oakland A’s Mascot Stomper and other characters were a huge hit.

Back by popular demand was the Rotary Club of Danville/Sycamore Valley’s Pumpkin Patch, complete with a free pumpkin for kids and a cookie decorating station hosted by Ciatti’s Cookies. Thank you to rotary member Jack Worthington, for coordinating this area with student volunteers from Dougherty Valley High School Interact Club.

The day would not have been possible without our Gold Sponsors Macy’s and John Muir Health, our Bronze Sponsor Fremont Bank Foundation and many other businesses, community members and individuals who contributed time and financial support (please see complete sponsor list and volunteers below). We are truly grateful for the support you give the DSCBA!

Julie Fuqua Photography captured the fun and many colorful images of the day in her photos which can be viewed by clicking on the link below.

Save the date of Sunday, October 11, 2020 when we will gather again to step up for Down syndrome.

From the bottom of our hearts...THANK YOU! Together, we EMPOWER, INSPIRE and SUPPORT!

To see photos from the 2019 SUDS Walk



  • 104 teams created–Thank you SPK Associates for printing team signs!
  • 23 teams reached the $2,000 level
  • $224,000 raised; Over $90k of that from just the top 10 teams!
  • 200+ Volunteers made the day possible. Thank you: NCL of Diablo Valley, Rolling Hills, Vista Oaks, and Walnut Creek; Boy’s Team Charity of Danville, Lamorinda and Walnut Creek; employees from Engeo; Community Presbyterian Church Serve Day Families; De La Salle Jefferson Awards; Dougherty Valley High School Interact Club; and many other individuals.
  • 1,080 Bottles of Water consumed— Thank you to Diablo Carpet and Restoration for being our Water Sponsor, and to Recycling for Smiles who recycled the bottles for good.
  • 100 Jamba Juices and 120 Donuts consumed
  • 100+ feet of banners printed by Vivas Banners
  • $8,400+ in matching donations from various businesses


  • $7500 Gold Sponsors: Macy’s, John Muir Health
  • $2,000 Bronze Sponsor: Fremont Bank Foundation
  • Pumpkin Patch Sponsor: Rotary Club of Danville/Sycamore Valley
  • $500+ Advertising Sponsors: Lumind, Pleasant Hill Orthodontics, Recycling for Smiles, Valero Benicia Refinery
  • Water Sponsor: Jack & Nancy Worthington, Diablo Carpet & Floor Restoration
  • Non-Profit Booths: Camp Pals and Be Exceptional Dance
  • Prize Donors: Disneyland, Macy’s, Neiman Marcus, Oakland A’s, Rich’s Ice Cream, San Francisco Giants, Taste of the World, The 101 Printers
  • Other in-kind Supporters: 21st Century Sound, Ciatti’s Cookies, Crow Canyon Swim Team, Fun Services, Golden Gate Garrison - Rebel 501st, Jamba Juice, Julie Fuqua Photography, Kelly Moore in Danville, Mount Diablo Unified School District, Pleasant Hill Police Department, Rebel Legion, Safeway Danville, SPK Associates, United Site Services, Vivas Banners, West Coast Avengers

VIDEO Of the winners of the TOP FUNDRAISING TEAMS 



Update from our 2018 Bay Area SUDS

Step Up for Down Syndrome 2018: A Day of Celebrating Families, Achievements, and Networking

By Mallory Ensminger 

For twenty years, the Down Syndrome Connection of the Bay Area (DSCBA) has provided resources and support to families of individuals with Down syndrome. Two main events are held each year: the Step Up for Down Syndrome walk and the gala. These events are opportunities for members to meet and connect with other members, as well as medical professionals and our generous donors. Fundraising is an important aspect of both events. The 2018 Step Up walk was held on Sunday, October 7, 2018, at Pleasant Hill Middle School. Mayor of Pleasant Hill Tim Flaherty declared October 7 Down Syndrome Awareness Day. One highlight of this event was the number of activities in which children and adults could participate.

A number of carnival games and activities were set up as a way to promote a fun, inclusive atmosphere. Games included a beanbag toss, miniature golf, a football toss, and more. Activities included a pumpkin patch, face painting, character photos, and more. Children laughed and ran around, enjoying the games and activities. There were several booths with information to share, as well as representation by key sponsors such as Macy’s, John Muir Health, and the Fremont Bank Foundation—a reminder of the tremendous support the DSCBA has received from the public throughout the years.

Approximately 1,400 people attended the 2018 Step Up walk. Each year, the DSCBA sets a fundraising goal in conjunction with the walk; 2018’s goal was $200,000. As of October 12, 2018, a total of $228,524 had been raised. In total, more than 100 teams registered for the walk. Team Drucker raised the most money, with $13,330 as of October 12. The top ten fundraising teams combined to raise a total of $90,000.

The walk around the track and the individual recognition were the most rewarding parts of the day. Each team who participated in the walk had their own team sign. The majority of the signs focused on the achievements of an individual with Down syndrome within the last year. No achievement was too small. Some achievements included learning to stand up, making new friends, and going to college. Each participant was greeted with applause and a medal as they crossed the finish line.

As a first-time observer of the Step Up walk, I was impressed by what I saw. One thing that stood out was how inclusive the event was. I also was thrilled to see that everyone was supportive of individuals with Down syndrome. Seeing the warm atmosphere and how everyone was having a good time made me proud to cover this event. A fun time was had by all!

Walk photos can be viewed here; CLICK HERE



Update from our 2017 Bay Area SUDS


Sunshine and smiles were abundant during the annual Step Up for Down Syndrome Walk & Family Picnic on October 8th at Pleasant Hill Middle School. A record 1,200 walkers enjoyed an afternoon of fun and entertainment after "stepping up" their fundraising efforts to raise our goal of $210,000.

Pleasant Hill Mayor, Michael Harris, welcomed everyone to the event and declared October 8th as Down Syndrome Awareness Day for the city of Pleasant Hill. The walk kicked off to the music from Las Lomas High School’s Pep Band, a cheer by Carondelet High School’s dance and cheer squad and an uplifting speech from special celebrity guest Megan Bomgaars from TV’s Born This Way. Megan also had a long line for autographs at her booth where she sold her "Don't Limit Me" t-shirts. DJ Joey provided the festive music which, of course, resulted in dancing later that afternoon!

Each team received a professionally printed team sign donated by Don Gardner of SPX Associates to carry along the walk. Key accomplishments were recognized for walkers with Down syndrome at the finish line, garnering cheers and applause from the sidelines. Huge thanks to our friends from the Golden Gate Garrison, 501st Legion and the Avengers who gave out medals and took pictures with our walkers.

Plenty of grassy areas made the perfect setting for family and team picnicking afterwards with food trucks, a coffee bar, and an ice cream stand. Attendees were treated to free carnival games, cotton candy, face painting and mini golf among other lawn games.

Special thanks to our gold sponsor Macy’s for their 5th year of sponsorship and to Scott Ferguson, Macy's District V.P., and Kia Panah for bringing their team to hand out prizes and gift cards. We are also very grateful to our other gold sponsors, John Muir Health and Fremont Bank Foundation, for their partnership this year.

We would like to acknowledge and thank all of our advertisers, donors and supporters: Eternal Water, Far West Sanitation, Recycling4Smiles, Pleasant Hill Orthodontics, Quest Foundation, SPK Associates, Vivas Banners, West Coast Avengers, Golden Gate Garrison 501st Legion and Taste of the World.

A big thank you to everyone who fundraised this year! 188 families created a fundraising page which resulted in over 2,000 generous people from around the world donating and making our goal of $210,000! Top fundraising honors go to the Peninsula Team with a record breaking $20,000; Nico Tom and Julie Tang individually brought in $7100 and $6600 respectively. The top 6 fundraising teams raised over $68,000 and include: Peninsula Team, Team Drucker, Team Leah, Dubh Nation, Team Friends and Glam Grace. The most team member award went to Team Drucker with over 200 members and the most creative t-shirt design went to Team Chromies. Julie Fuqua of Julia Fuqua photography and Lisa Upton of Lisa Upton Photography kindly donated their time and photography talent, taking many beautiful candid and team pictures.

Nearly 200 volunteers from Presbyterian Community Church, National Charity League – Walnut Creek, Diablo and Rolling Hills and Boys Team Charity – Walnut Creek, Lamorinda organizations helped staff the event and kept it running smoothly. There was a wonderful spirit of support and encouragement all day celebrating abilities and promoting acceptance. Thank you to the entire community who stepped up for Down syndrome. See you next year!


Walk Photos can be viewed here: CLICK HERE


Update from our 2016 Bay Area SUDS


Thank you to all who joined us and fundraised for the 2016 Step Up Walk. Thanks to your efforts, over $181,000 was raised for the programs at the DSCBA. Over 1000 people attended the walk and enjoyed music, food trucks, carnival games and so much more. 

Check out photos from the day here!

The Step Up Walk is a great opportunity for the community to come together for an afternoon of fun and a walk! The Step Up Walk is also one of the two biggest fundraisers that supports the DSCBA programs throughout the year. We would love to have you participate and get your friends and family involved.