CARLSBAD — The first annual Mitchell Thorp Memorial Walkathon
Jan. 23 at Poinsettia Park attracted more than 1,000 participants with net proceeds exceeding $70,000.
“We are definitely overwhelmed with the huge support our community has provided,” said Brad Thorp, foundation president, and Mitchell’s father. Mitchell died in 2008 of an undiagnosed illness at the age of 18, and his family started the foundation in their son’s name to give back to the community, and to support the many other families whose children are suffering from a life-threatening illness. “The money raised today will help ease the financial burden for those families whose children are battling childhood diseases.”
More than 75 volunteers from throughout the community including members from local schools, service clubs, churches, and many more assisted in the smooth coordination of the day’s event. The Carlsbad High School Lancer Dancers, cheerleaders and Excalibur dance teams provided entertainment to get the crowd in the spirit.
Carlsbad City Council Member Keith Blackburn donated a check for $1,500 from his own foundation to support MTF. Boy Scout Troop 706 provided the Color Guard and flag salute, while Sarah Elliott, a music teacher at Aviara Middle School, sang the “Star Spangled Banner.” Carlsbad Jazzercise instructors led the crowd in warm-up exercises prior to the four-mile trek around the park. DJ Lou Taverna kept the crowd moving and dancing along the way.
Henry’s Market donated fresh fruit and energy bars on the course, Carlsbad Firefighters provided free hot dogs to all participants, and BJ’s Restaurant donated free pizza slices to all walkers completing the walkathon. In addition, Annabelle’s and Jamba Juice provided beverages. Albertson’s and the Elks Club donated 1,000 bottles of water to the thirsty walkers, and Kelly Elementary School staff put on a bake sale, with all proceeds going to the foundation. Many local businesses provided raffle prizes, and at the end of the day, a Daisy Girl Scout Troop volunteered to help with the recycling.
Sam Reiser, a CHS junior who is battling lymphoma cancer and who represents one of several families who stand to benefit from the proceeds of the walkathon, attended the entire event with his family. Reiser cheered the walkers on as they circled the park and addressed the crowd at the conclusion of the walk, thanking them for their attendance and support.
“This was truly a heartfelt event for us all, “said Beth Thorp, MTF co-founder. “Our efforts have just begun, and we thank everyone for their overwhelming support. We will be continuing our efforts all year, and we have already begun to discuss our next events. All I can say is thank you to all who participated. We live in a great community.”
In addition to holding the annual walkathon, the Mitchell Thorp Foundation holds other fundraising events to help families in need, and provides scholarships and awards to promising young athletes like Mitchell, acknowledging their accomplishments in youth baseball as a player and as a role model. To learn more about the foundation or to make a donation, visit www.mitchellthorp.org.