SYKESVILLE â€” The slight amount of rain at this yearâ€™s Run/Walk for Someone Special was not enough to stop the participants from smashing last year's record of 407 participants and $45,000. With 524 participants and $65,000 raised this year, the Run/Walk has continued its upward climb.
Run/Walk benefits the Arc of Jefferson-Clearfield Counties and Camp Friendship. The event was held at Town Hall in Skyesville, where men and women of all ages could sign up to run or walk a two-mile or five-mile distance course.
Even though Run/Walk is a charity event, it had the feel of a festival.
With a silent auction, the Pittsburgh Pirate Parrot, Punxsy Phil, Dora the Explorer, hot dogs being served and all the smiling kids running around, the event had a welcoming feel.
The Run/Walk brings in new faces every year, but there are some who have participated since the eventâ€™s early years. Michael Tattersall, of Brookville, is one of those participants, as he has attended the event for 30 years.
"There is just so much love among those kids. Once you've met these kids and started working with these kids, you just want to keep going with it," Tattersall said.
The Brookville resident has been raising money by going to Mike's Comet Market, as well as going door-to-door and to various businesses throughout Brookville. He also worked with S&T Bank, so they kept track of his running total. In all, he raised $1,777.69 for this year's event.
"The local people over there in Brookville, they are great, because they back me 100 percent, because they know the money stays here and helps these kids, and that's the main thing," Tattersall said.
One of the reasons why Run/Walk is getting bigger is because of its greater presence on the Internet. Erin Cameron is one of the reasons why that has happened. Cameron has helped the Run/Walk event make the transition to the digital age. As a result, the event is bigger than ever.
"This year, we grew about 200 people more â€” that's a huge jump," she said.
It was hard to walk around the event this year without seeing someone wearing a "Will's Walkers" T-shirt. There were about 70 people sporting the shirts. Bill Cuba sold the shirts in support of his son Will, who has Down syndrome, and used it as a way to raise money for the event.
Cuba was a big contributor this year and brought in $1,850 through online donations. He also received help from Dirty Erma's in Brookville, where a fund-raiser was held that raised over $2,000. All the money from "Will's Walkers" brought in $7,809, making it the largest group contributor.
Cuba was the third- highest individual collector with $1,850. The second highest was Stephanie Cleveland with $3,387.84; and Josh Golembiowski was the highest contributor, with $5,138.
This was the third year Cuba and his family participated, but they were committed to the cause after the first year.
"We just want to keep coming back and doing it and
raising more money and doing everything we can," Cuba said.
Gretchen and Lance Marshall found a way to benefit the event while incorporating it into their jobs. They work at Sheetz in DuBois and sold coupon books to raise money for the event.
"Since we work at Sheetz, it's easy to find people who like Sheetz food," Gretchen said.
They were able to generate $400 in just one week from selling the coupon books. They have participated in the event for three years. They feel the event is a good cause, and they also have a nephew who attends Camp Friendship.
Run/Walk chairman Patrick Mowrey believes the community trusts how the funds raised from the event are used.
"I think everyone realizes the money stays local,â€ť he said. â€śThat's huge, because when the money leaves the area, people don't like that.â€ť
The money will support three camps held this summer by Camp Friendship, a Punxsy camp, a Brockway camp and an autism camp.