BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Wilkeson Pointe Park will soon become a 5k course and inclusion exhibit for the next week from June 6-13. It’s a new twist on the annual fundraising event for local non-profit that helps people living with cerebral palsy.
"I think this is the most inclusive event happening this summer. There will be things like inclusion alley and pathway of possibilities, it’s really focusing on having a good time,” said Lauren Walier, Founder of the Make Lemon Aide Foundation for CP.
Make Lemon Aide works to raise awareness and money for specialized therapies.
“And we bring our CP community together to create a sense of belonging and family,” said Walier.
Which is something this community really missed during the pandemic. Make Lemon Aide typically hosts an annual walk/run/roll at the outer harbor. This year—it’s taking on a new name and new format.
There will be an option to walk, run or roll a mile or 5k and check out an inclusion exhibit. You choose your date and location based on your schedule and comfort level. It’s also a hybrid event—so you can choose to participate at the waterfront or virtually-- from a location of your choice.
Because above all else—this is about inclusion.
"I don’t see a lot of inclusion in everyday life. I believe in day to day life that we can have acceptance, but the step above that is inclusion," said Walier.
The goal is to raise $30,000 dollars to support a physical therapy grant program which could help people like Emelia Cahoon.
"My daughter just had surgery—having access to this therapy will greatly allow her to rehab better. Have a better outcome," said Caren Cahoon, Emelia's mother.
Wmelia was born at 27 weeks and diagnosed with cerebral palsy before her first birthday. As she gets older, some of the side effects make everyday living difficult.
"It basically affects every muscle from her head down to her toes. She struggles with feeding herself. At 11 years old, it’s hard for her," said Cahoon.
During the pandemic, Cahoon tells 7 Eyewitness News, things just got harder.
"Knowing how critically important it is that she maintains stretching, that she gets her therapies and all of a sudden she went from having all of these therapies to having me," said Cahoon.
The Cahoons have been to every Make Lemon Aide fundraiser since its inception.
“It’s so helpful for my daughter who is an 11 year old in this body that just doesn’t function for her, to know that she’s not alone,” said Cahoon.
They hope Emelia can make it before the event ends, as she recovers from major surgery.
The registration fee for Laps of Love is $25, click here to register.