When eighth grader Emma Ligtenberg decided to do something to help her school’s principal in his quest for a new liver, she knew she could depend on the tight-knit school community at San Carlos Charter Learning Center to help raise awareness and few dollars.
So Emma went big—she has organized a Walk-a-Thon on December 8 at Burton Park and hopes to raise $60,000 and awareness of the importance of becoming an organ donor.
“He’s a very good principal,” Emma said of San Carlos Charter Learning Center director Chris Mahoney.
Due to a rare disease, Mahoney’s liver is failing, and he’s on the list for a transplant, but the list is long and the road to a liver transplant is an expensive journey.
And with the support Emma and the students at Charter, Mahoney’s journey toward a new liver is one that he is not making alone.
“I want to raise money for Chris,” said Emma, who has two younger siblings at Charter.
“When my mom and dad told me about this I was really sad and all of the kids at Charter wanted to help him. My mom told me about walk-a-thons she did as a kid and I thought that would be a good idea,” she added.
So Emma, with the encouragement of her mom RJ Ligtenberg, the blessing of the fundraising committee, and the help of other classmates and parents, has pulled together all the elements of a successful fundraiser: a targeted mission (raising money and awareness); a centralized location (Burton Park), an kid-friendly activity (walking as many laps as possible around the park); refreshments (local businesses are donating food and drinks), a bake sale (by the fifth grade Girl Scouts), a silent auction; prizes and music (student and parent bands will perform).
Even the Kettle Korn vendor from the Farmers’ Market will be on hand and will donate 50 percent of the profits to the cause.
And with any good event, T-shirts will be available for sale---both for the walkers and the volunteers. The “Keep Calm and Liver On” shirts are available for kids ($10) and adults ($15).
The San Carlos Parks & Recreation Department has waived all fees associated with the use of Burton Park for the event.
TO SIGN UP, GO TO www.KeepCalmAndLiverOn.com
And Emma has even taken the winter weather into consideration.
“If it rains, that’s okay because kids can still walk in the rain and the food, music and other activities will take place in the dance room of the Youth Center,” she said.
The Walk-a-Thon course at Burton Park will have two distances, a shorter route for younger kids—across the basketball courts and young kids’ play structure; the longer route will take walkers around the baseball diamond, the Kiwanis Club building and the play structure.
“We need to keep generating more interest among kids and get them to sign up,” said Emma.
She’s hoping that as the day gets closer, more and more kids and adults will sign up, and she expects that some participants will sign up the day of the event.
Emma explained that walkers will be ask sponsors to pledge a certain amount per lap, or just one flat donation.
The Walk-a-Thon is a great way for kids to do things to make a difference. At Charter, we’ve never done anything like this,” said Emma, who added that the students at Charter all feel the same way.
Emma’s appreciation of Mahoney as an educator and a role model is obvious, “When Chris came to our school a few years ago, everyone stepped it up a little bit,” she said.
Her mother, RJ, added, “Chris has high expectations of the kids. He’s raised the bar and expects kids at Charter to meet the challenge.”
To sign up for the Walk-a-Thon, or to purchase a shirt, go to the event website, www.keepcalmandliveron.com.
Emma and RJ hope that even those who are not participating in the Walk-a-Thon will still attend the event and stay for some food, music, and to show their support for Chris Mahoney.
For more information, go to www.keepcalmandliveron.com.
Keep Calm and Liver On Walk-a-Thon
- Saturday, Dec. 8--RAIN OR SHINE
- 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
- Burton Park
- Open to all ages
- Food, music, prizes, silent auction, bake sale and more!
- For more information, go to www.keepcalmandliveron.com.
Will you be participating in the Walk-a-Thon? Tell us in the comments below.