BOISE -- This weekend, hundreds of people in the Treasure Valley marked Down Syndrome Awareness Month by taking part in the Buddy Walk in downtown Boise.
The annual walk is all about promoting inclusion and acceptance.
One of the teams that took part in the walk, Mateo's Mariposas, featured a large contingent of cheerleaders from Bishop Kelly High School.
Cheerleader Lucy Martinez helped organize the group for her baby brother, Mateo.
He was diagnosed with Down Syndrome when he was born. Ever since then it's been this incredible journey that we've all been taken on, said Lucy. He's been such a blessing since he was first born.
When Lucy told her teammates about the Buddy Walk, they jumped on board.
They love seeing him and being around him, and they've always been there, she said. It was an automatic just want to be a part of this.
He's an amazing boy and they are a great family, said Bishop Kelly cheer coach Amy Eisele. I thought it was a great fit for us, and just thought we need to do this.
Lucy's mom was thrilled the girls wanted to sign up for Mateo's team.
I think that's just the spirit of BK, said Janie Mendez. When we found out about his diagnosis of course it was scary, I'm the type of person that was like OK, let me educate myself.
The Treasure Valley Down Syndrome Association helped her do that.
The money raised at the Buddy Walk goes to the TVDSA for education, programs and scholarships.
October is down syndrome awareness month, so I know nationally there are probably 300 walks that happen, said Janie. The idea is to promote inclusion and acceptance of children with down syndrome.
Mateo's team was called Mateo's Mariposas. 'Mariposas' is Spanish for 'butterflies.'
It was about transformation, my attitude has been transformed, I think the attitudes of the girls will be transformed, said Janie. It's about everyone being unique.
There's no doubt Mateo is unique, and very loved by his family and by the BK cheer squad.
I just want to say thank you to all of them for being so supportive of my family and my baby brother and how much they love him, said Lucy.
For more information on the Treasure Valley Down Syndrome Association, and the Buddy Walk, click here.