CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — The 14th annual Disability Resource Expo brought dozens of service providers throughout Central Illinois to Marketplace Mall to spread their mission.

The event gives people with special needs and their loved ones easier access to resources for a greater quality of life. Coordinator Allison Boot said it has a little something for everyone.

“We’ve tried to put more of an emphasis on autism and disorders, as well as those that have mental health struggles,” Boot said. “Awareness is key. People don’t know what they’re not exposed to and awareness is the first step to education. And that’s really what this event is all about.”

Boot has cerebral palsy, a disorder that causes weakness with using your muscles. She said living with the disorder all her life gives her a specific insight on what this day represents. 

“You’re occasionally going to have bad days, and that’s ok,” Boot said. “But it’s important to remember that you can still live a full life with your disability, you just have to do it a little differently.”

Boot said being supported by so many people is a blessing. 

“This is a very inclusive community and we are very lucky to live somewhere so inclusive and appreciative of those with different types of disabilities.”

Boots said she plans on making next year’s expo even bigger. She has several ideas like an adaptive sports demonstration and working with various clothing stores for an adaptive runway fashion show.