CARLSBAD — Hundreds of North County residents attended the second annual Mitchell Thorp Walkathon on Jan. 22 to support and raise money for families with children suffering from life-threatening illnesses.
Thorp Field at Carlsbad’s Poinsettia Park was buzzing with activity as the fundraising event, organized by the nonprofit Mitchell Thorp Foundation, was under way. The family-friendly event included a 4-mile walking route, raffles and live entertainment.
“This is a really good cause to support,” Carlsbad resident Paul Sims, who attended the event with his family, said. “I have a niece and nephew with a debilitating disease so I can relate to the frustrations these parents have.”
While no official numbers have been tallied, event organizers were confident that with sunny weather and extra promotion of the event, Saturday’s numbers would exceed the inaugural event’s attendance and fundraising efforts.
“The foundation really expanded its outreach to all of North County this year because a lot of the families that have asked for support are also in Oceanside and Vista, not just Carlsbad,” volunteer Ray Pearson said. “This is a great event to be involved with.”
According to the foundation’s website, more than 1,000 people participated in last year’s walkathon and raised more than $60,000 for families who need help with medical bills and living essentials.
Carlsbad resident and cancer survivor Sam Reiser, 17, was a special guest at Saturday’s event. While he and his family were the beneficiaries of last year’s walkathon, Reiser was unable to attend because he was in the hospital undergoing treatment for Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
“Attending this year is a privilege because a lot of these people were here last year to support me and they have come back again,” Reiser, a Carlsbad High School senior, said. “It’s not about the money raised, it’s about the support and love from everyone here.”
Brad and Beth Thorp launched the nonprofit charitable organization in memory of their son Mitchell, who passed away from an undiagnosed illness in 2008.
The foundation’s board of directors selects North County families who are struggling as their children face life-threatening illnesses. Funds are used to cover travel expenses, medical equipment and childcare for siblings. Emotional support is also provided.
“We were so humbled by what the community did for us when Mitchell was sick,” Beth Thorp said at a recent City Council workshop. “We would hate to have that feeling go away for others who need help.”
For more information about the Mitchell Thorp Foundation, visit www.mitchellthorp.com.