Walkers Raise Money For Two East Texas Organizations

There were plenty of chances to get some exercise and raise money at the same time. Two walks were held today in Tyler benefiting two local organizations.

The first was Walk America, the largest fundraising event of the year for the March Of Dimes. People across America participate in events like this one throughout the month of April. It helps to raise money, and awareness for the half a million babies who are born prematurely each year.

"A lot of times, people think prematurity is just small babies, and once they get out of the hospital, it's over, they go home, and they live healthy lives, and that's just not the case," said Longview-Tyler March Of Dimes director Rebecca Helvey. "These families will go home, and they have medical costs, and insurance, and things that they struggle with." The money raised from this walk will be put into educating East Texas women about having a healthy pregnancy.

Over at Rose Rudman Park, hundreds of walkers took part in the 17th Annual Walk A Mile For A Special Child benefiting the Arc of Smith County. Local schools were represented, as well as families who had children with special needs.

Event chairman Jan Barton has two children with special needs, and says the community response means a lot to families like hers. "It's wonderful. To be embraced by the community, and to know how many people care, to come out, and raise awareness that special needs people are just like everyone else. It's wonderful," said Barton.

The Arc of Smith County relies on money raised from the walk to help fund events like Camp Heyday and the sibling workshops they put on for their client's families.

Lindsay Wilcox reporting, lwilcox@kltv.com