Are you looking for a fun, meaningful event that you and your family can do together? The annual Butterfly Walk in support of CancerFree KIDS will be here before you know it. Your family won’t want to miss out on this important event. The Butterfly Walk is fun for the whole family, and even better, it supports families who are facing battles with pediatric cancer. Need a good reason to attend? We’ve got 12!
It brings the community together.
An important part of the walk is how much the community comes together to celebrate these children. Amy Paribello, founder of the event, says that “The event is open to the public, but designed around showing support to survivors.” The mother of one of those survivors, Brandi Redwine, says, “Within our community we’ve had a lot of people who’ve been affected by childhood cancer so they can relate. A lot of people come together to support the families. Families from out of town come in; it’s a touching event.”
You can do it with your entire family.
The walk is just one mile and designed so that anyone can participate if they want to. “This is for everyone,” Paribello says. “90-year-olds can do it. It is handicap accessible. Babies who are fresh out of the house participate and so do grandparents who want to show support for their grandchildren.”
Through the walk and the survivor ceremony, the Butterfly Walk is all about coming together to make a difference. “For my daughter,” Redwine says, “she looks forward to this event every year because it’s a lot of fun and I think it just gives kids something fun to look forward to while also raising really necessary funds.” Paribello adds, “It’s great for families to realize they’re not alone. It’s like a coming out ceremony for kids who are battling cancer to be proud of who they are.”
It’s a great family tradition.
Many families who participate in the walk make it a yearly event in their households. Paribello estimates that “about eight teams have participated for all 12 years. There have been families to come in later and who fall in love with it.”
It supports CancerFree KIDS.
CancerFree KIDS is a great organization that focuses on giving grants to researchers focused on pediatric cancer treatments. Paribello says, “Their mission is to accumulate money that they can grant out to researchers. They have various fundraising events throughout the year; this helps researchers get started.” Redwine feels that “it’s important for people to support CancerFree KIDS because they look for ways to treat all types of pediatric cancer” instead of focusing on just one type.
Redwine’s family finds this to be a source of strength for her family. She says they have their core group of family and friends every year. “We try to promote the event in Ava’s school,” she adds. “There are people who come out who maybe have never met Ava before that year.”
It’s a way to encourage and teach your children empathy and awareness
The Butterfly Walk is a great way to teach your children about empathy if they’ve never experienced what it would be like to know someone who was battling cancer. “It’s amazing the way the walk can impact families in ways that you can’t predict,” says Paribello. “While the survivors are getting honored on stage, their siblings are meeting other survivors and their siblings in the audience. It’s been so hard on the sibling, and it is so helpful for them to talk with another sibling who is going through the same thing.” She added that there are “huge contingencies of families who don’t have a direct impact with cancer, but still do the walk every year.”
It’s a way to celebrate survivors and honor those that have lost the battle.
Through their survivors ceremony, the Butterfly Walk is able to give each child a medal. Paribello says, “We invite each child on stage to receive a medal of courage and their moment to shine.” Redwine adds, “The part where the kids are honored with the medals is just a way to recognize the struggles they’ve been through and what they’ve overcome.”
It’s a fun way to celebrate Mother’s Day.
Help CancerFree KIDS reach their million dollar goal.
Throughout the last 12 years, the Butterfly Walk has raised approximately $950,000 dollars for CancerFree KIDS. They are hoping that this year they will hit the one million dollar mark. Paribello says, “We started the event 12 years ago and made $25,000 the first year. We never expected it to be successful for 12 years.”
Meet a pony.
After the walk, they have a fun fest for the children and their families to enjoy. There will be a DJ playing a music, a magician, inflatables, hot dogs, and games. There is even a pony to give rides and a petting zoo. They also have a raffle event to give away some cool prizes. The best part is that all prices for the fair are included in the admission to the event!
Beautify the park.
Every year the Butterfly Walk has an adopt-a-tree program where they allow businesses and families to symbolically adopt a tree to decorate for the walk. “We try to keep a youthful quality to the event,” Amy says. “One of the missions is to give a way for kids to be involved in the event. Adopt-a-tree started as a way to get kids involved. It’s a really personal element—some teams will have a tree dedicated to a survivor.”
The 2018 Butterfly Walk is being held at Cottell Park in Mason, Ohio on Saturday, May 12. Registration opens at 8 a.m. and the 5k Race starts at 8:45 a.m., followed by the Survivor Ceremony at 9:45 a.m. If you want more information on the event, or to register your family, visit butterflywalk.com.