About 500 people raised tens of thousands of dollars for the Edmonton Down Syndrome Society on Sunday.

By 4 p.m., just over $33,000 was raised at the 14th annual Go21 YEG walk around Hawrelak Park.

“There’s a lot people don’t know about down syndrome, and hopefully walks and events like this is going to bring about a lot of advocacy,” Jennifer Smolik, mother of four year-old Ryker, said.

“It is just a different ability. They can do everything that anybody else can, it's just all in their own time, perhaps with some different supports. But they’re all beautiful, beautiful people and parts of our community and it’s really important to encourage them and give them the support that they need because they’re going to be just as valuable in our community as anybody else is.”

In addition to raising awareness, the walk raises funds for programs like speech, physio and occupational therapy, as well as literacy and social programs.

The walk is the group’s biggest fundraiser of the year. This year, the organization set a goal of $60,000.