Make Lemon Aide Foundation hosts family-friendly event at Woodlawn Beach Grove to support Cerebral Palsy awareness, research and treatment
More than 300 people ran, walked, rolled or just had fun at the third annual Walk/Run/Roll in Lauren's Shoes 5K and family fun-raising event held Saturday at Woodlawn Beach Grove. The unique, family-friendly event allowed participants, including those with limited mobility, to choose a walk or run based on ability, including a short one-mile accessible walk for walkers, wheelchairs and assistive walkers, as well as 3K and 5K walk/runs.
Participants were encouraged to wear specially monogrammed, 1-pound ankle weights to simulate what it may feel like to walk with Cerebral Palsy.
Proceeds from the event will benefit the Make Lemon Aide Foundation for CP.
Special guests at the event included the Gandee family from Michigan, who gained national attention two years ago when Hunter Gandee carried his younger brother with CP on his back for a 111-mile walk, raising awareness for CP. Hunter carried Braden on his back for this walk, too, while other family members wore ankle weights to simulate difficulties with mobility.
Chris Hendericks, a singer-songwriter with a duo called Castlewild Music, and who has CP, performed at the event. He also runs Perfectly Afflicted, a business where he speaks and performs at schools about anti-bullying, acceptance and teen suicide.
The event included live music, the Buffalo Zoo Mobile, "Kids Zone," children's activities, appearances from Sabretooth and the Super Hero Alliance, beer and wine tasting, a silent auction and 50/50 split.
CP is a neurological disorder that affects the orthopedic health of gross and fine motor functions resulting in physical disabilities that afflicts nearly a million children/individuals in the U.S.
Lauren Walier, a 17-year old who is living with CP - the event's namesake - founded The Make Lemon Aide Foundation in 2013 when she learned there is no federal funding for research for the disability. The foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting the development of new treatments, to advance research and to create a public forum of information exchange to improve the quality of life of those affected by CP.
Walier said, "Many of us living with CP have mobility issues, and this event is a great way to demonstrate that we can still participate in fun events. It also helps to raise awareness among non-CP sufferers what it may be like to face the challenges of CP. It has been tremendous to see so many people come out today to support the foundation and have some fun!"