Our first annual "Kristen's Walk to the Water" in 2003 was a huge success! With the help of all the donations we received from family and friends we were able to purchase and install a huge playset in a young boy's backyard. His whole family was able to enjoy this gift and they were so very thankful.
Our second annual "Kristen's Walk to the Water" in 2004 was yet another wonderful experience. Walkers came from all over to share in our special day while not only donating money, but their time as well. Proceeds from this year enabled us to purchase lap top computers with all of the accessories for five, very thankful, children. Some of the kids needed a computer for school, others because they were, unfortunately, not able to leave their environment for some time, and others, for pure enjoyment. Seeing the looks on these kids' faces, along with their families', is priceless. We were also able to help pay off a college student's tuition. What better way to work with kids other than to make them happy. That is our mission!
Our third annual "Kristen's Walk to the Water" in 2005 brought us much sunshine and even more dedicated walkers! Each year we are blessed with more and more participants and we love having you share in our special day. Proceeds from this year enabled us to purchase more laptop computers for some very appreciative children as well as a sofa and chair for a young girl looking to enter the "world of interior design".
Our fourth annual "Kristen's Walk to the Water" in 2006 treated an adorable little guy to an LCD flat panel television for his playroom. Although all of our kids touch our hearts tremendously, this little one is just 5 days older than our Kristen Summer so it really hit home for us. He was so excited to see his favorite characters come to life on a large screen television! We were also able to help make the dream of a little girl come true when she headed off to Disney World! Although we would have loved to have taken care of the entire trip, we were able to help out in a big way and that put a smile on our face too. There are no words to describe the joy these "wishes" bring to the children ...
Our fifth annual "Kristen's Walk to the Water" in 2007 helped an amazing organization that touched close to home for our family. When Kristen was in the hospital during Christmas 1992, a young man was visiting the children's ward and offering them gifts and toys to try and help brighten their long days in the hospital. This young man, John Theissen, survived a brain tumor as a teenager and chose to help other children through their long struggles. His mission, through the John Theissen Children's Foundation, is to help all children as well and as he states "Sometimes A Smile Is The Best Medicine". His organization does a great deal to help children in so many aspects and the fact that both of our foundations know the importance of a smile really draws us closer! We are so very proud to have supported something that meant so much to our wonderful Kristen Leigh. She wanted so much to join John the following holiday season with the giving of gifts, but was unable to fulfill this dream. As a result, her daddy did so for her (which was a struggle in itself) We are now able to do something this special year round through "Kristen's Walk to the Water".
Our sixth annual "Kristen's Walk to the Water" in 2008 was a little later this year in order for Kristen's little brother, Craig, to finish his Freshman finals up at UMASS and be with us on our wonderful journey to the water and back. Thanks, once again, to everyone because without you none of this would have been possible. We are honored to announce that we worked with Splashes of Hope this year for our walk. Splashes of Hope is a non-profit organization of artists who hand-paint murals in healthcare facilities. Each mural is designed to stimulate the healing process by giving patients a soothing visual focus while in the hospital. We felt our donation to Splashes of Hope would be a wonderful way to continue to work towards Kristen's passion which involved helping others, creativity and, of course, the ocean. This year, our "little walkers" used their artistic creativity to help create a mural for a facility waiting to be "Splashed". What a wonderful way to honor our Kristen Leigh!
Please visit their website at: www.splashesofhope.org and go to photo gallery, then NY, then Kristen's Walk to see some pictures!
We also made an 18 year old boy's day just a bit brighter with all of your generous contributions. Diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma, he's had to endure a lot these past few months so he needed something to help take his mind off of all he's been through. An upgraded basement to relax in and play some games was his "wish" of choice. So, there's now a 40 inch LCD flat screen television for him to play some video games on. He also asked for the Wii game system as well as some energetic games to go along with it. He'll be making some music now with Guitar Hero and pick out even more games with a gift card to Best Buy. We will also help "put a smile" on a local 8 year old boy just diagnosed with leukemia. We're just waiting to hear back from him and his family. As you can see, there's always somebody to help. It's unfortunate that there are so many children out there who need the helping, but that's what we're here for. Thank you, to all of you, for your continued support...we need you.
A letter from one of "our kid's" mom...
Our eighth annual walk sent us some more "glorious sun!" as Kristen's Grandma would always say. Beautiful day, beautiful people to share it with. Our littlest walkers "splashed" two more murals for young children requesting some "happy" in their homes. It's amazing how involved all the little ones get and they are now looking to do their painting each year they come to Kristen's Walk! We currently have a few young children we are anxiously waiting to make happy, but are just waiting on their doctors "ok's" for their family getaways. We are very pleased to say that another one of our young men will be receiving his PVC playset with "turbo slide!!" this coming week and we've all been waiting patiently for it to be constructed! We love each and every person involved in our journey and only have a few short months until our 9th Walk!! WE LOVE YOU KRISTEN LEIGH!
Our 9th annual walk showered us with even more sunshine!! We had an amazing amount of participants and it was such a joyous day!! Each year more and more people hear about our beautiful event and join us on our journey. We even had strangers, who we now consider friends, approaching us with great news of all the money they raised....so heart warming. It was a blessing to "splash" two more children with happiness through splashes of hope. And we continue to hear back from children who are "in need of a smile"....although it's the reason we do what we do, it is truly so devastating how many children are ill. Please join us, on yet another journey, Saturday, May 12th as we walk together at our 10th annual Kristen's Walk to the Water!!