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Xavier athletes help out at Buddy Walk

By Ed morley
On September 14, 2011

On Sept. 10, several of Xavier University's athletic teams participated in the 16th annual Buddy Walk in downtown Cincinnati.

The event is a 2k walk accompanied by live music in Sawyer Point Park, by the Ohio River.

It is put on by the Downs Syndrome Association of Greater Cincinnati (DSAGC) every year as a day of fun for people with Downs syndrome, as well as their families and friends.

Coach Andy Fleming and his #24 Xavier men's soccer team, along with Xavier's baseball and women's soccer teams took to the park to show their support for the Downs syndrome cause.

This year, the event had an especially personal feel to it since Coach Fleming's 4-month-old daughter, Devin, was born with Downs syndrome.

"Saturday was a great day. One of the best days of my life, a wonderful day for Xavier athletics and Downs syndrome awareness and, above all, a special day for my daughter, Devin," Fleming said.

The participants were divided into hundreds of fundraising "teams."

Fleming created "Devin's Team," and an army of people turned out to support them.

"On Saturday morning, we saw babysitters neighbors, co-workers and in all, 107 people who were there as part of "Devin's Team" and there for our daughter. The women's soccer team got back from a game at 1 a.m. on Saturday and still came. The baseball team was there. No one had to be there; they wanted to be there and it was a special gesture that we will never forget," Fleming said.

"Devin's Team" raised a staggering $4,165 — $3,165 higher than their given target — for the DSAGC.

This is the second time this week that the Musketeers have received a top 25 ranking; they ranked 15th out of hundreds of teams in fundraising at the Buddy Walk, just six days after receiving their first Top 25 national ranking for soccer.

Fleming puts an emphasis on his team being made up of not just good players, but all-around good people, and the Buddy Walk was something that made him very proud of his players.

"I was so impressed of how engaged our players were and how they truly gave themselves and put smiles on some faces during the after party. They embodied what true Xavier students are about," Fleming said.

The Buddy Walk was established in 1995, and since then its popularity has skyrocketed.

An estimated 11,000 people participated in the Buddy Walk this year, and undoubtedly Fleming will add members to his army of "Devin's Team" for next year.

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