EAST PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Easterseals kicked off its annual community rally with the Run, Walk and Rally event in honor of Autism Awareness Month.

About 400 participants were able to walk, run or roll according to Community Engagement Manager Molly Hogeboom. The purpose of the event, she said, was simple: support families of Easterseals.

“By coming to this race, by participating, we are showing the families of Easterseals that the community is rallying around them and supporting them,” said Hogeboom

Participants were able to create teams based off who they were rallying for. A father and participant of “Team Gehringer” said Easterseals has been a great resource for his family.

“Our oldest son has autism, and we’ve used Easterseals services for 10 years. They’ve been great to us and this is our way of giving back,” said Gehringer.

He said they have been fundraising for the walk for about five years to bring awareness not only to autism, but to the organization as well.

“The tools and options for these kids are endless. Having the community come together to bring awareness for them and be able to provide more services for all of these kids is great,” said Gehringer.

To learn more about Easterseals or donate, visit its website.