A series of photo shoots last week in downtown Tracy was part of a local mother’s effort to raise awareness of Down Syndrome.

Kimberly Demontigny of River Islands teamed up with photographer Philip Flores of Austin, Texas, to create portraits of children with Down Syndrome for the families and for an online gallery for Down Syndrome Awareness Month in October.

Demontingy said that one of her four daughters has Down Syndrome, so she knows the challenges that parents and special needs children encounter in the world, but they also know the beauty and joy that their children bring to the world.

She noted that Flores also has a daughter with Down Syndrome, which is why he has dedicated much of his business webpage, www.isabelgracephoto.com, to his daughter, Isabel Grace, and other children with Down Syndrome. Each person, including children and adults, from the recent photo shoots will have a gallery posted there.

“Together, we hope to expand bonds within the Down Syndrome community and gain awareness for Down Syndrome via sharing the experience and the pictures and celebrating the joys they bring into our lives,” Demontingy wrote on the Go Fund Me page that helped raise money to bring Flores to Tracy last week.

On Friday they visited Sweet Arts Bakery on B Street and Main Street Music on 10th Street, and families brought their children in for free professional photo sessions.

Demontingy said she expects that this event will be the spark for a non-profit dedicated to spreading awareness and education on Down Syndrome, as well as support for families.

• Contact the Tracy Press at tpnews@tracypress.com or 209-835-3030.

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