Updated: Nov 14, 2022
Brantford, ON – Colourful costumes, capes and masks decorated the paths of Brantford’s Brant Park on Saturday October 1st, as over 300 friends of Lansdowne Children’s Centre attended the 4th annual Heroes Walk and Roll family fun carnival.
Hosted by Lansdowne Children’s Centre Foundation and presented by CRWS 3PL Warehousing & Logistics, BML Roofing Systems and Crossroads Refrigeration, the event offered a fun afternoon of accessible and inclusive games and activities, and hero themed attractions.
Kids of all ages attended the event dressed as whatever hero inspired them, and had opportunity to meet comic book heroes including Captain America, Thor, Black Widow, Spider-Man, Aquaman and Batgirl. They were also entertained by a clown’s balloon art creations, and the magic of magician Rick Rossini.
This year’s fundraising effort started in August with an online opportunity, where fundraising teams could create their own messaging, set their own goals, and become ambassadors for the event, each one of them a Lansdowne Hero.
Team MIGHTY MASON was created by the family of the walk’s client ambassador, Mason Boughner. Mason was born premature and has weakened lungs that require a ventilator. In his young life he and his family have experienced many of Lansdowne’s support services, including physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech and language therapy.
Dressed as Paw Patrol’s construction pup “Rubble”, Mason led the way for his team – a sea of yellow t-shirts – and all the other participants when he opened the 2022 walk with a ceremonial cutting of the starting ribbon. His team also led the way in donations, raising over $16,000 in contributions.
Mason’s parents, Rob and Karissa Boughner, shared their appreciation for Lansdowne Children’s Centre with the crowd ahead of the walk.
“One of the most helpless feelings as a parent is knowing your child needs help, and not knowing how to help them… A 451 day stay at McMaster Children’s Hospital, staring at the same four walls, laying in bed, was really detrimental to Mason’s development. As first-time parents we struggled with what to focus on to help our son. Lansdowne quickly became part of our village, and with phone calls, virtual appointments, house visits, they helped us with strategies to help Mason. That’s why Lansdowne means so much to our family, and why we’re here today. We fundraise to help other families find this support, and not feel helpless.”
Karissa and Rob also shared special thanks for all the members of their fundraising team, calling out one member in particular, Mason’s grandfather, “Poppy” Brian Sullivan.
“You may not understand this metaphor but you are the Ryder to Mason’s Rubble. You answered the call when help was needed. Prepped the team and put everything into action. No dog is too big, no Poppy too small.”
Ahead of the annual walk (and roll) around the north end of Brant Conservation Area, Foundation Executive Director Angee Turnbull addressed the excited crowd of waiting cosplayers to dedicate this year’s event to the memory of past Foundation Board Chair, David Neely.
David was Board Chair in 2018 when the Heroes Walk was created, and as Angee described,
“When I told him what we wanted to do for the kids he just said, ‘Well go do it.’ Because that was what he was all about.”
Margaret Neely, David’s wife, spoke to the crowd sharing a message on behalf of her husband.
“David fought his cancer for almost six months. And he never gave up. Kids, that’s what he would want to say to you today. Never give up. No matter what. He loved you all, and remember that, you are loved.”
It was love for the work of Lansdowne Children’s Centre and the families they support in our community that drew so many dedicated volunteers to donate their time and expertise to make the event success, including radio personality Melissa Forsyth who emceed the event. Said Melissa,
“On behalf of the many families helped by Lansdowne, and I count my family as one of them, Thank You, everyone, for all support.”
Senior development officer and event organizer Candace Kingyens was moved to tears as the event closed, sharing the overwhelming support shown by the community.
“We set out with a lofty goal of sixty-five thousand dollars. To reach over seventy is amazing. It’s incredible. I am so grateful for all the generous sponsors who made this day possible. For the support of Dan and his team at Brant Conservation Area. For all our volunteers and contributors. For all the families who want to support each other, who want to help make events like this possible so that all kids have a chance to experience a magical day. It means so much to bring great people together for the kids.”
Planning for the next edition, 5th annual Heroes Walk and Roll, is already underway.