On Sunday, April 17, 575 people of all ages and abilities walked 3.1 miles through the welcoming community of Sands Point for a cause. This year was the 23rd Annual Helen’s Run/Walk and the number of participants and proceeds surpassed last year’s numbers. Everyone walked with a purpose, raising awareness for the 2.4 million people that live with combined low hearing and vision, and to support the Helen Keller National Center (HKNC), which provides training, recourses and support for people ages 16 and over. As of Sunday, $35,000 was raised, and all proceeds will go directly to HKNC recreation project which includes renovating and upgrading the gymnasium on HKNC’s campus in Sands Point.
Marina Carroll, coordinator of the event and development officer for HKNC, said, “This is the best turnout, our volunteers and sponsors are greatly appreciated and I can’t thank everyone enough.” She added, “We are grateful to all our sponsors, including TD Bank and Richard Dzwlewicz, who was responsible for getting them on board.”
There were three top fundraisers, including team Miles for Megan, cofounded by Megan’s mother, Lori Bookstaver, in loving memory of her daughter; former student at HKNC, Jon Gabry, who raised $2,000; and team Holly’s Hommies. Members of the Lions Club also formed a team and walked together. Team member Stephanie Teff said, “We have a special feeling for the Helen Keller National Center, and a history with Helen Keller. Our club was asked by Helen Keller in 1925 to further the mission to assist the blind and visually impaired.” They have been actively involved ever since.
Participants, walking and running, were cheered on by volunteers waiting on the sidelines. Everyone was greeted at the finish line by a very supportive crowd and, of course, were handed water bottles. Esai Mora, a 19-year-old student at the Helen Keller Center, said, “It was good, but tough. I pushed through and finished the entire walk.”
Joseph Bruno, president and chief executive of Helen Keller services, presented awards to many people and he acknowledged many more for all their hard work and commitment. This was one walk/run where everyone was a winner.