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      5,000 shoes fill the capitol to raise awareness

      5,000 shoes filled the rotunda of the capitol building.

      The shoes varied in colors, shapes and sizes just like the individuals and families they represented.

      The Arc promotes and protects the human rights of people with developmental disabilities.

      The Arc Missouri chapter hosted the 'Missouri Can't Wait' campaign in Jefferson City Wednesday and Thursday.

      Each one of the 5,000 shoes represented one developmentally disabled Missourian in need of services.

      They just represent real people that have real stories," Jenny Wade said. Wade's 6-year old son, Austin, is on the waiting list.

      Budget cuts have forced services like therapy, personal assistance, home adaptations and transportation to scale back.

      "With him not getting the therapy that he use to, his body has gotten worse, he's had to have a hip surgery and now that's not doing so well," Wade said. "He just really needs a lot more therapy, getting the services back would enable his care to be better, it would enable him to get more of what he needs to be a happier and healthier individual."

      The goal of the 'Step Up, End the Wait' campaign is to let Missouri lawmakers know 5,000 isn't just a number.

      "Just take a good hard look at how we're spending our money and how people with developmental disabilities, ya know, they just need to be made a priority and we just ask that legislature please put their needs at the top of their mind while making decisions this year," The Arc of Missouri's executive director Angela Gourley said.

      "With a country as great as ours, we should be taking first and foremost care of those that are not able to care for themselves," Wade said.

      In Cole County 165 people are waiting for much needed services.

      An informational meeting about starting an Arc chapter in Boone County will be held on Monday, Jan. 24.

      The meeting will be at the Daniel Boone Public Library from 6:30 " 8:30 p.m.

      To learn more about the meeting or The Arc chapter in Missouri you can contact Angela Gourley at (573) 552-6748.