PLAINVILLE — When the going gets tough, the tough stick together.
On Saturday, the Make-A-Wish foundation hosted its annual Walk For Wishes fundraising event. In order to continue the annual event during the pandemic, the Make-A-Wish Foundation introduced a new virtual walk where people could participate in their own neighborhoods while maintaining social distancing.
“They usually host the walk at Lake Compounce with hundreds of people. This is the first year they’re hosting a virtual walk,” said Plainville resident Kim Shumbo, who organized a “walk” at her home for friends and neighbors.
“It started off with just me, my sisters and my niece and nephews and then I called the Plainville police and asked if we could do a social distanced walk,” Shumbo said. “And then it just grew from there.”
Shumbo and her family have been involved with Walk For Wishes for the past four years. Her son Braden was granted a wish from the foundation in 2018 — a Disney trip, including a private, moonlit safari with his family.
Across the state, people joined the walk to help raise money for children with life-threatening illnesses. As of 2 p.m. Saturday, participants in Connecticut raised over $32,000.
A similar walk was held in Middlefield.
Shumbo’s son isn’t the only Plainville child granted a wish. Dale Neyra was given the opportunity to see a live showing of the TV singing competition “The Voice” and met judge Kelly Clarkson. Mason DeBellis also got the chance to go to Disney and Michelle Anankwa-Sarpong is waiting for travel restrictions to lift so that she can visit Ghana.
All of the Plainville Make-A-Wish kids attended the walk with their families and friends. Local police escorted the group and handed out patches and stickers to the kids.
“Being able to host this walk in our town makes it really special. Our four families have a connection from going through this experience together,” said Kelly DeBellis, Mason’s mother. “This is a really close, tight-knit town.”