Hundreds of Edmontonians spent Sunday walking to raise money and awareness to support those living with Down syndrome in our city.

The Edmonton Down Syndrome Society says about 1,500 people came out for the 8th Annual Buddy Walk, which raises money for the organization that offers resources and support for families with members who have Down syndrome.

The walk, held in Hawrelak Park and hosted this year by CTV's Carmen Leibel, is the biggest of its kind in Canada and attracts more and more participants each year.

“This walk I think is one of the truest statements of our community,” said Michelle Ponich, executive director with the Edmonton Down Syndrome Society.

“The people just bundle up and come out. A few years ago this walk, it was so cold out but our numbers didn’t go down. They went up that year. I think it’s just a true statement of our community and how people become involved and when they believe in something it doesn’t matter what the weather is doing or anything else.”

About $150,000 was raised in this year’s walk, which is the highest total for an Edmonton Buddy Walk to date.

Those funds will go to support a nurse co-ordinator and speech pathologist position.

More than $12,000 of the day's grand total was collected by friends and family of Carole Tonn.

Tonn’s two-and-a-half-year-old daughter Kaitlyn was born with Down syndrome and the family credits the Edmonton Down Syndrome Society for helping them understand the condition.

“The hospital gave us great care but everything was about all the complications and problems so it was very scary for us at the beginning because we didn’t know what to expect,” Tonn said.

Tonn said the nurse co-ordinator and speech pathologist personally helped the family and Kaitlyn.

“She came and talked to us and was very positive and gave us stories about positive things, not about the heart conditions or problems and has helped us through the whole process.”

Tonn says the love she and her family has received from Kaitlyn over the two-and-a-half years has been incredible.

“She is a bundle of joy,” she said. “She’s teaching our family so much about patience and perseverance. She doesn’t know the word can’t, she just works hard until she can do it and nothing stops her.”

About 1 in 800 babies are born with Down syndrome in Canada.