(WJBK) - It is a story of special needs and special friends.
One family's efforts to give back to an organization that has given their child some of his best days ever.
Mark Menuck's son Eli is 10. He loves cars - and he loves The Friendship Circle - an organization in West Bloomfield dedicated to children and adults with special needs.
"What did you and your friends do there?"
"I played with cars," Eli said.
It is a program near and dear to this family and many others. Eli started attended camps and classes and field trips with the friendship circle when he was just 4 or 5 years old.
"My wife drove him to The Friendship Circle for his first day," said his dad Mark Menuck. "And when he came home, I heard 'Eli had the best day ever.' It was a complete game changer for me."
Mark and his family were hooked. Eli is on the autism spectrum and might not have a chance to play with other children if not for The Friendship Circle - which also pairs each person with a volunteer - a friend."
"Anyone who needs a friend and there's no better place to go than a place that wants to be your friend and that's what The Friendship Circle really is," Mark said.
And an estimated 5,000 people will be celebrating that with The Walk For Friendship in West Bloomfield Sunday morning September 2. It's a walk followed by a carnival - an effort to raise money
for all of The Friendship Circle's many programs - the goal - 600,000 - but the other goal? To raise awareness and let people know The Friendship Circle is open to everyone.
"Our hope is that maybe somebody comes who hasn't gotten to experience what it's like to be loved and friends with someone with special needs and see that and feel it and want to be a part of it," said Jamie Reedholm, The Friendship Circle.
Eli and his family will be there - their team - The Believers - Eli's name spelled out right there - as they shout out their support - and walk for friendship.
"It means everything to us and anything that benefits Eli and kids like Eli - I will help support," Mark said. "It's a great day."
The Believers have already raised $20,000. The event is free and the MC is FOX 2's Monica Gayle.
To learn more click here.