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Cranberry girl to be featured in Times Square video

| Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012, 9:31 p.m.

Claire Barclay of Cranberry has made it to the Big Apple once again.

A photograph of the 6-year-old girl was recently selected from more than 1,000 photos to be featured in a short video presentation in Times Square in New York City as a way to kick off the National Down Syndrome Society's Buddy Walk, according to her mother, Holly Barclay.

Claire, who has Down syndrome, is one of more than 200 featured photos of individuals shown in the video to help raise awareness of the condition, said Jordana Stern, communications and social media manager for NDSS.

Its purpose is to “highlight their abilities rather than their disabilities,” said Stern. This is the fourth year that Holly said her daughter's photo was selected.

“She likes everything that other kids like,” said her mother, such as riding bikes, swimming and dancing. “She's just a typical 6-year-old.”

Claire's photo featured her riding a ride at Kennywood Park in West Mifflin earlier this year with her aunt, Cindy Sager, of Scottdale, Westmoreland County.

Stern said the video lasts about 20 minutes and was played on the outdoor News Corp. Sony Screen, located in One Times Square.

“”It attracts a lot of attention in Times Square. It has a really positive impact,” Stern said.

NDSS's Buddy Walk, which is now in its 18th year, was held in cities across the country on Sept. 22 to help raise awareness.

Last year, about 285,000 total participants joined the effort, said Stern.

Before next year's Buddy Walk, NDSS will start to accept photos worldwide like Claire's beginning in May, Stern said.

A group of third-party individuals make the selections.

Those who would like to help can still do so at the local 2012 Three Rivers Dash for Down Syndrome on Saturday, Oct. 13, 11 to 3 p.m., in Hartwood Acres, said Holly.

Participation fee for the Dash event is $20 per household if registering online by Oct. 8, and will help raise money for the Down Syndrome Association of Pittsburgh, according to the group's website, www.dsapgh.org.

The Dash event was formerly connected to the Buddy Walk, but this year it's being raised locally, said Holly.

Money raised by donations and sponsorships stays with the local community, which directly impacts local families.

See information on the Buddy Walk and NDSS at www.ndss.org.

The video can also be ordered at the website.

Natalie Beneviat is a free lance writer for Trob Total Media.

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