A local organization is celebrating a birthday this weekend with a special event at community park.
This Saturday, the Jacksonville Area Center for Independent Living (JACIL) is celebrating its 20th birthday with a Wheelathon.
The Wheelathon is an event similar to a walk-a-thon. However, the participants in the Wheelathon use a wheelchair to complete a one mile course instead of walking.
Becky McGinnis, the executive director of JACIL, and Larry Whewell, the associate director of the group joined WLDS’ What’s On Your Mind program to discuss the Wheelathon.
Whewell tells us what this fundraiser is about.
“The fundraiser is about getting people out to Community Park to get teams together and they collect sponsors. Teams are made up of 2-5 people and then they wheel around the loop in Community Park to raise money fro JACIL. And also it gives people the experience of what it’s like to use a wheelchair. So, we get the financial benfits and the people the experience of what it’s like to use a wheelchair. It’s just like a walkathon only instead of walking you use wheelchairs,” says Whewell.
Whewell also tells us about some of the prizes at the Wheelathon.
“This is our 11th year that we’ve had it. Participants get a 2017 t-shirt and a free lunch. We have prizes for the person who raises the most money, the team that raises the most money, and the team with the most enthusiasm and team spirit,” Whewell explains
McGinnis explains that the wheelathon has always had other disability awareness activities along with the wheelathon, and this year will have birthday themed activities to go along with it:
“Every year along with the Wheelathon we’ve had a variety of disability awareness activities. We always have a theme for these activities, this year, because this JACIL’s 20th birthday, we are having a birthday party. For instance at one station you can learn to sign happy birthday in ASL,another one has something to do with icing cupcakes when you can’t see them very well, several typical birthday party games, with simulating a disability,” says McGinnis
The Wheelathon is this Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon at Community Park. The Wheelathon is one of JACIL’s largest fundraisers and their goal this year is to raise $13,000. The money raised from this event allows them to help those with disabilities across the area.