Backpack Kid Russell Horning Headlines the 2018 Best Buddies Fundraising Walk
Internet sensation Russell Horning, known by his creative title “Backpack Kid” and his legendary “flossing” dance, contributed to this year’s Best Buddies Friendship Walk to raise awareness of intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).
You know him from his iconic SNL performance with Katy Perry, but you may not know that teenager Russell Horning is a regular volunteer, fundraiser, and guest speaker at gatherings across the country. He chooses to use his growing Backpack Kid fame to help out those in need and to be a positive inspiration to his generation.
“People should be nicer to each other and better to each other,” says Russell Horning. “When they see celebrities giving back and encouraging people, they might think ‘if they can do it, so can I.’”
He’s a regular sponsor of charitable events and appears at gatherings, fundraisers, and conferences to spread his hope for togetherness. In the past, Horning visited Elsa Ebeling Elementary School with backpacks full of school supplies for the kids. He’s danced and spoken at Zumba instructor conferences and partnered with outreach programs such as Families of Children Under Stress (FOCUS).
He keeps busy throughout the year with a packed tour schedule, visiting cities across the continent such as Tampa, FL, New York City, Memphis, TN, and Vancouver, BC. Russell Horning visits many of these locations explicitly for charitable events, such as the Best Buddies Friendship Walk in Tampa he attended earlier this year.
The Friendship Walk to Remember
The Friendship Walk, which is organized and headed by Best Buddies International, is the top fundraising walk in the country for IDD. The mission of the event is to spread awareness and raise funds to support individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Those with these specific types of disabilities usually develop disorders at an extremely early age or else are born with their disorder, living out their entire life with it. Disability stems from disorders like Down Syndrome, autism, Fragile X, Williams syndrome, cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury and others. These conditions can have a negative impact on an individual’s physical, intellectual, and/or emotional development, affecting all areas of their lives.
Through Best Buddies, people with IDD can build new friendships with caring individuals, develop leadership skills through hands-on programs, and participate in integrated employment.
Backpack Kid Russell Horning was this past year’s headline celebrity for the charitable walk in Tampa, helping raise thousands of dollars in funding. While there, he performed his wacky dancing and handed out signed t-shirts to excited attendees.
Earlier in the year, Russell Horning was part of a select group of celebrity Fortnite competitors hosting a live broadcast event called the Fortnite Pro-Am Tournament. (His iconic “flossing” dance appears as an unlockable component in the bestselling game, a major feat for the teenage celebrity). Tournament participants were offered unique franchise memorabilia to take home, and Backpack Kid brought his along to the Best Buddies Friendship Walk as an additional auction piece to help raise funds and awareness. Through regular community involvement, Russell Horning proves to his generation that celebrities can be nice, giving, and truly inspirational leaders, giving them hope and solidarity along the way.