LONGVIEW, TX (KLTV) - Early Saturday morning people gathered in Longview to spread awareness about down syndrome and raise funds at the 16th Annual East Texas Buddy Walk, but for one buddy, it was also the finale to a week of work well done.
Since she was five years old, Ameri Garret, 12, has spent one week a year performing random good deeds.
"It started out when I found some kids at my school who were just so awesome and special," stated Ameri. "I thought they deserved a reward in some way."
With the help of her mother, Amanda Garrett, she continued to randomly reward those in her community.
"She'll either take donuts or cookies to a policeman or fireman," Amanda declared. "She'll find somebody and just give them a gift card, she'll make a flower bouquet."
It was Ameri's second annual random acts of kindness week that helped her find a life-long friend.
Ameri said, "When I met my friend Ryan I knew he was different but I didn't know what. Once I started looking into it more and finding out and researching, it just intrigued me and that's why I want to help."
Now, every year Ameri's final act of kindness is a donation to the East Texas Down Syndrome Group and attending the Buddy Walk with her excited best friend Ryan Bailey.
"I get to eat food, and play games, and walk," said Bailey.
This year Ameri made it to the top of the Buddy Walk sponsor list, raising over two thousand dollars, but she was most excited about spending a day with a good friend.
Today's buddy walk raised over $59,000 which will go towards down syndrome research and advocacy programs.