The 22 teens from Knots of Hope, the community service organization started by Priscilla Suzal-Wright, will all volunteer at the Transplant Foundation’s 5K Miracle Walk/Run scheduled for Sunday, Nov. 14 at ZooMiami from 8 a.m. to noon. Registration begins at 7 a.m.
“It’s really fun,” Suzal-Wright says. “There’s a DJ, there are games and there’s a raffle.”
Last year the Miracle Walk/Run drew 750 participants and this year the organizers are expecting 800 and hoping for a thousand. The walk raised $70,000 last year and is a major fundraiser for the foundation, which helps transplant patients pay for medication, housing and transportation. The foundation also invests in research and works to educate about transplants.
Since 1987, the foundation has helped more than 5,000 transplant patients by granting special requests that help them cope with the burdens of the transplantation process.
The foundation’s materials say that an average of 17 people die each day waiting for a transplant. That’s more than 6,000 a year.
Suzal-Wright has been involved with the Transplant Foundation since she was a preteen and is familiar with the Walk/Run.
“We do it every year,” she says. “I’ve done it past four years. For Knots of Hope, this is going to be our second year.”
The Knots of Hope girls were volunteer workers last year for the event, but this year, Suzal-Wright says they are not only volunteering but walking.
“We have a Knots of Hope team and we are raising money,” she says. “We have plenty of girls to do both.”
She’s expecting most of the girls to attend along with their parents.
“We help out with anything we possibly can,” Suzal-Wright says. “We set up, we decorate the place. We set out the bagels in the morning. It’s always so much fun. It’s always a great turnout.”
The teens also help the walkers do prewalk stretching exercises and help get them motivated to walk.
Throughout the morning, some of the girls will sell raffle tickets, while others will man the station where they will be making personalized friendship bracelets.
“We will also be selling some bracelets we already have as well as giving out information about what Knots of Hope is,” she says.
After the walk, they will help remove the decorations. Some might even stay and go to the zoo, which is one of the perks of being involved in the event. There also will be a bounce house, arts and crafts and face painting for the kids.
It’s been a busy season for Knots of Hope. They recently held a successful private gala in Pinecrest that raised $21,000. Plans call for next year’s event to be open to the public.
“The gala was amazing,” Suzal-Wright says. “It was such a magical night.”
To register for the walk, go to www.miraclewalkrun.kintera.org or call 305-817-5645. Registration tickets are $35 in advance and $60 onsite.