by Joan Hellyer
The Sunshine Foundation will stage its annual RunWalkBark4Dreams benefit in June to help make the dream of an area four-year-old child come true.
The 17th annual event begins at 8:00am on Saturday, June 8th in the Northampton-section of Tyler State Park off Route 332.
It will include a 5K run, a two-mile walk, a DJ, face-painting and refreshments.
“Well-behaved, leashed dogs” are welcome to join their humans and participate in the benefit, organizers said.
The Southampton-based non-profit organization is raising money to send the child, named Ariel, and her family from Elkins Park, to Walt Disney World in Florida, said Linda Staley, the foundation’s technology volunteer manager.
While in Florida, the family will stay at the Sunshine Foundation’s Dream Village. “(It) is a fairytale resort maintained to handle families with children who suffer with disabilities,” Linda said.
The foundation was created to make dreams come true for children three- to 18-years-old who are chronically or seriously ill, physically challenged or victims of abuse.
Bill Sample, a Philadelphia police officer, joined with other volunteers in 1976 to establish the foundation after he witnessed families dealing with the emotional and financial strains that come with having a seriously ill child.
The foundation has since expanded to grant dreams to children throughout the United States.
Most of the dreams are to go to the Disney park in Florida, Linda said. But the foundation grants other types of dreams, she said.
“Sometimes an adaptive bike or playhouse is requested and other times the child requests to go on a trip to visit family in another state,” Linda said.
Organizers of the RunWalkBark4Dreams event expect to raise about $12,000 during the benefit, according to the technology volunteer manager.
The money will be used to pay for Ariel’s dream, as well as those of other children who are waiting to realize their dreams.
Registration is $25 for adults and $15 for kids three to 12-years-old. Go to sunshinefoundation.org for more information.
Organizers will present Ariel with her “Dream Come True” after the run and walk.
“The event welcomes everyone hoping to make a difference in a child’s life,” Linda said. “The committee will strive to put on a very nice family friendly event, but this is only possible from the support of our RWB4Dreams sponsors and donors. These supporters offer their time and resources and really make it possible for the event to continue. They really are the reason we have the same ‘smiling child’ outcome each year.”