Related: Dance class leaves students beaming
They came from as far afield as Echuca and Geelong to join a gathering in Lake Weeroona to celebrate some very special people in their lives.
Sunday’s StepUp! for Down syndrome event was one of several to be held across the state this month which aim to raise thousands of dollars to help support families of individuals with Down syndrome.
Bendigo organiser Rebecca Quinn said the event was also about bringing the Down syndrome community together and raising awareness within the broader public.
“People with Down syndrome are capable of doing the same things as the rest of us,” she said.
“They are part of our community and, in fact, they can even contribute that something extra.”
Ms Quinn said her nine-year-old son William helped her make her first connections in Bendigo when she moved from Melbourne five years ago.
People with Down syndrome are capable of doing the same things as the rest of us,”Rebecca Quinn
Others were much more recently involved with the community of families of individuals with Down syndrome.
A group of 21 grandparents, aunties, uncles, cousins and family friends attended their first StepUp! event this weekend, each wearing a green bandanna with the words ‘Fletch’s team’.
“My little nephew Fletcher is only five months old,” Colleen Shawcross said.
“So this is new for all of us, we’ve never faced anything like this and we’re all learning, and teaching the kids about Down syndrome.
“He’s lucky to have such a big family who loves him.”
It’s to help families like the Shawcross’ in their journey with Down syndrome the StepUp! events are organised, Down syndrome Victoria executive officer Sue O’Riley said.
“This year we’re hoping to raise more than $100,000, which would go a long way towards supporting the families of individuals with Down syndrome,” Ms O’Riley said.
“As the statewide peak body, DSV seeks to provide services for people with Down syndrome and their families through all facets of life.”
October is Down syndrome awareness month and four Step Up for Down events were planned for Victoria, with the next at Geelong on October 22. Find out more at the www.downsyndromevictoria.org.au.