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(WBIR - Knoxville) Nearly 1,000 people walked around World's Fair Park on Sunday afternoon to celebrate East Tennesseans with down syndrome.

The Down Syndrome Awareness Group of East Tennessee organized the 17th annual Buddy Walk which helps raise money for the non-profit while raising awareness in the community.

The group's executive director, Kelly Brickey, has a daughter with down syndrome and knows first hand how important the annual event is for families.

"Having this network of families and network of other people that go through it is just a phenomenal support system and I as well as all the other parents here recognize that," Brickey said.

She also said the celebration is a chance to help erase the idea that people with down syndrome aren't as capable as everyone else.

"Sometimes they get to do things or get to a point a little differently then somebody else but they are so perfectly capable and they have so many abilities. When we stop focusing on the disability and focus on what ability every single person has and brings it's such a phenomenal thing," Brickey said.

The Down Syndrome Awareness Group of East Tennessee serves 18 counties across the state.

Getting involved, Brickey said, can be as simple as reaching out to people in our community with down syndrome or other disabilities.

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