On Saturday, Sept. 29, the Optimist Club of Greater Vienna conducted its seventh annual Walk for Growing Hope and Family Fun Day in support of childhood cancer research. This year's event has so far raised over $40,000 after expenses to bring the total for seven years to over $276,000 all of which goes directly to the Growing Hope foundation as well as Johns Hopkins cancer research center. This year's event featured live music by Cowboy Hay, a moon bounce, dunk tank, raffle and silent auction and the balloon artistry of Marsha Gallagher of "Just for Laughs" and face painting by "Paint me a Party." Food and refreshments were provided and all donors attending received a free tee shirt.
Growing Hope is a local nonprofit organization founded in 1998 by a group of parents coping with the devastating effects of their children's cancer on their child and the child's siblings and parents. They have been providing support for families in this situation ever since. Examples of this support would be annual Kings Dominion outings, special event parties, circus events or, in some cases, simply paying a family's heat or rent bill when the family's resources are temporarily depleted. The Vienna Optimists joined forces with the Growing Hope group in 2006 after careful analysis of the group's approach and commitment. Since then, the partnership has flourished, growing stronger by the year with hundreds of families being the beneficiaries. Many people have written, expressing their gratitude for easing their burden and providing a few bright spots in difficult circumstances.