The Optimist Club of Vienna had its name put to the test Saturday morning, when its Walk for Growing Hope event met with cold, rainy weather. Spirits remained high, as participants walked the W&OD Trail between the old Vienna train station and Hunter Mill Road to raise money for Growing Hope, an organization that provides supportive care at Pediatric Hematology/Oncology of Northern Virginia in Fairfax.
Through sponsorships, the event raised $32,000, 75 percent of which will go to Growing Hope, while 25 percent will be contributed to Optimist International's goal of raising $1 million to give to Johns Hopkins University for cancer research. Growing Hope provides local children receiving cancer treatment with toys, art supplies, video games, movies, televisions, Bingo, pizza parties, Santa visits, trips to the circus and Kings Dominion, and other diversions, as well as providing support for the children's families.
The Walk for Growing Hope also included a raffle, refreshments, a face-painting clown and a rock performance by the Vienna Jammas. The Vienna Optimists plan to make the event annual, to be held on the first Saturday of each October.
— Mike DiCicco