Benefit events coming in bunches

jmarks@lakewyliepilot.comSeptember 19, 2013 

— They’ve been planning, partying and ponying up all year. But now, it’s go time.

Lake Wylie Children’s Charity hits the high mark for its annual fundraising efforts with several events in coming weeks, including the one that started it all – an outdoor benefit concert at T-Bones on the Lake. Each year the group collects money for a family facing pediatric cancer. This year’s beneficiary is Emma Poplin-Revels, 3, of Fort Mill.

“Every year is a different challenge,” said board member Marshall Feimster, one of about 25 volunteers who work year-round toward the fall event.

Last year was a transition year for the organization, which created a new name and focus in its 10th campaign by the lake. There’s also been a lineup change in what initially was just the fall concert. This year, the group has five events, three between now and Oct. 12.

A poker run Saturday kicks off from Q2U BBQ Pit in Lake Wylie Plaza and winds through stops in Rock Hill, Smyrna and Clover before returning to T-Bones. All riders are welcome in the $20 per vehicle event. Registration is 11 a.m. with the last ride out at 1 p.m.

“Since our beginning we have supported as many local charities as possible and the Lake Wylie Children’s Charity is one of our favorites,” said Brian Rich, co-owner at Q2U. “We truly believe in their mission of helping families with childhood illnesses.”

The final event in this year’s campaign is the second annual Superhero 5K run by Anytime Fitness. The event includes a 5K through The Landing neighborhood and a mile fun run for kids. Registration costs $25 through the end of the month or $30 in October, or $10 for the fun run. A prize will be given for the most creative superhero costume. The event is open to anyone, not just gym members. To participate, sign up at Anytime Fitness or register online at active.com.

“We had about 75 last year,” said Amy Rose, manager at Anytime. “We’re looking for twice that many this year, at least.”

But the biggest event remains the lakefront concert. To date, organizers have raised more than $400,000 for area families, including more than $42,000 for last year’s recipient, Luke Moore. This year’s concert will be held Sept. 29.

“It’s all 100 percent volunteer,” Feimster said. “All the bands, all the people, they’re taking their time.”

In addition to the core of about 25 people, another 50 or so volunteers show up the day of the concert to set up and break down, collect money and otherwise keep the event running. Organizers this year are expecting 3,000 to 5,000 people. Plenty of work remains to be done. Pictures and videos are being shot. There’s been a strong showing of silent auction items but organizers say they could use double more what they have.

Long-time volunteers say it seemed like an undertaking when fundraising was just one event, let along the five it’s grown into. A golf tournament and Capt. Clueless Race for the Cup were held earlier this year. But each event has someone to lead it. And many have backing from local businesses.

“It’s great for local businesses,” Feimster said. “They’re mostly your local people coming to see (the concert).”

The other advantage volunteers have, they say, is their cause. Children fighting medical issues resonates with people, and putting a face to that fight is what’s prompted people to give for more than a decade now. And, they hope, for the next several weeks.

To participate in an event, to donate or for more information, visit lkwchildrenscharity.org.

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