The community comes together for the 5th annual Step Up for Down Syndrome

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) – “Today is about celebrating people with Down syndrome, our self-advocates,” said Western Slope program coordinator Stephanie Bonnie. “Bringing families together, meeting new friends, dancing, doing crafts, and then we have the boardwalk as part of that as well.”

Event organizers like Bonnie have brought the community together to raise funds and awareness of programs for people with Down syndrome and to let families know they are not alone.

“When a family discovers a diagnosis of Down syndrome before birth or after the child is born, sometimes it’s not all celebration,” Bonnie said. “You feel super lonely.”

The event therefore aimed to provide support to these families like Dominique Williams, whose son Jacy has Down’s syndrome.

“It feels good, you know,” Williams said. “It’s obviously a lot of support, it’s exactly what he needs, and as you can see he’s super happy with it.”

The walk also provides a space for the community to learn about Down syndrome.

“A lot of people don’t understand Down syndrome,” Williams explained. “It kind of helps us explain what it looks like, and it’s not that big of a mystery.”

Rocky Mountain Down Syndrome Association President Evelyn Walter said their mission is inclusion.

“We find that when we do events like this, our families get a lot of support, but more importantly, they get to invite their friends, colleagues and families to experience a day with people who are just different from them,” Walter said. “People with disabilities, especially Down syndrome.”

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