Cody’s Dash 2017

One mom’s experience with Down syndrome has grown into broad-based, local support for kids and families.
Cody and his mom, Amy Jackson.

Cody’s Dash for Down Syndrome was an idea born from one mother’s determination to provide children like hers with the support they need to thrive. When Amy Jackson’s 6-year-old son Cody was born with Down syndrome, she and two of her close friends came up with the idea of holding a 5K walk and run to raise money, but weren’t sure where the funds should go.

It was during this time that Jackson learned about an organization called GiGi’s Playhouse, which existed across the U.S. but didn’t yet have a chapter in Minnesota. Her mother, Kathy Rossman, says Jackson made it her personal mission to bring GiGi’s Playhouse to the Twin Cities. “Within a year, she raised enough money to open a GiGi’s Playhouse in the Twin Cities, and in February it will have been four years,” says Rossman. The organization provides St. Louis Park children and young adults with Down syndrome free therapeutic, educational, and social programming.

Nancy Gianni, founder of GiGi’s Playhouse, was first inspired to create a supportive, fun space for people with Down syndrome and their caretakers after she struggled to find such a place for her own daughter, GiGi, for whom the company is named.

Cody’s Dash donates 100 percent of its funds to GiGi’s Playhouse. This year’s event features the 5K run and one mile walk plus family entertainment including face painting and crazy hairstyling.
“We hope people will leave our event having a better understanding of Gigi’s Playhouse’s resources,” says Rossman, “as well as an increased understanding and awareness of people with Down syndrome and their potential.”

Cody’s Dash 5K
Sunday, May 21
Central Park, 101 16th Ave S, Hopkins
9:30 a.m. Registration
10:30 a.m. Cody’s Dash 5K and 1 mile walk
11 a.m.–2 p.m. Family Fun in the Park
$15/person (12 and under) $30/person (13+)
Register online at the website here.