BYRON TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month but advocacy groups are starting outreach efforts early with an event on Saturday.

The Down Syndrome Association of West Michigan hosted its annual awareness and fundraising event from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. at the Special Olympics Michigan Unified Sports and Inclusion Center, located at 160 68th St. SW.

About 1,000 people attended the fundraising walk to show support for individuals with down syndrome.

The executive director said as of Saturday morning they had raised nearly $100,000. They need more than $130,000 to exceed their goal.

For the second year in a row, the top fundraising team was ‘Fist Bumps for Callen.’ The team raised $7,662 for the fundraising efforts.

The money collected funds special projects, events and services for families, medical professionals and disability organizations.

“From welcome baskets when someone gets a diagnosis to cooking and book club for the adults. we even have support for families who want to adopt someone with down syndrome and all of those programs are at no cost to those families,” Katie Hollis, executive director of the Down Syndrome Association of West Michigan, said.