SOLANA BEACH — Five dogs, one infant and about two dozen adults gathered April 24 for A Stroll & Wheel to Heal to raise money for Awakenings Health Institute, a Solana Beach nonprofit organization that serves clients with spinal cord injuries and neurological disorders such as multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease.
Participants, who were expected to raise at least $100 each for the inaugural event, met at the corner of Lomas Santa Fe Drive and Coast Highway 101 for a leisurely, round-tip stroll to Via de la Valle.
The fundraiser was hosted by Jennifer Wanner and Andrea Lajoie, who for eight years participated in the national walk to benefit the Multiple Sclerosis Society. Wanner said this year they created A Stroll & Wheel to Heal because they wanted to focus on something more local.
Wanner’s sister, Patty Schroeder, suffered a spinal cord injury in a diving accident in 1996 and has been a client at Awakenings for the past five years.
“They’ve helped her tremendously,” Wanner said.
Laura Karch, Awakenings founder and executive director, said the money raised will be used to upgrade equipment, increase staffing and provide scholarships for clients of the six-year-old facility.
On event day, Wanner and Lajoie were more than halfway to their goal of raising $5,000. Visit www.awakeningshealth.org for more information or to donate.