A teenager living with Down syndrome is breaking barriers, and using her platform to help others

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- For many teens, prom is the biggest night of the year and for home schoolers it is no different. That includes Kennedy Garcia, who has Down syndrome - and she is not letting it stop the celebration.

"We wrapped it into graduation, 18th birthday, prom for her friends. And it turned into this," said Kennedy's mother, Renee Garcia.

Kennedy is a social media influencer and she wanted to make this more than just a personal celebration. The event also raised money for Hearts of Joy International, an organization that provides lifesaving surgeries for Down syndrome infants overseas.

"Hearts of Joy comes in and provides the surgery and allows the healing to begin so these children can live long productive lives," said Cara Armstrong with Hearts of Joy.

Many of the guests are active on social media, so the word is spreading fast.

"To know all these friends are showing up, for a bigger cause than just a party it's beautiful," said Kennedy's father, Frank Garcia.

Kennedy has a lot to celebrate and it is a message she wants to share.

"People with Down syndrome have such value and in developing countries, Down syndrome is often seen as a curse. Down syndrome is not a curse - it's a beautiful thing. People live full lives and do important and amazing things," said Armstrong.

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