Over 26,000 runners are expected to participate in 2013 Baltimore Running Festival taking place Oct. 12, but, for Sandra-Lynn Berson of Potomac, the race has personal significance.
She is leading a team to honor her longtime friend and neighbor, Heidi Brown, who passed away suddenly in May of melanoma.
Comprising approximately 20 of Brown’s friends and family, most of them from Montgomery County, “Team Heidi,” will run the 5K race as members of “Team CASA,” the official charity team of the Maryland Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Association. CASAs are trained volunteers who are appointed by the court to represent the best interests of victims of child abuse and neglect.
“Heidi was like the grandmother of her neighborhood… and was loved by all,” said Berson, a CASA volunteer who recently joined the Maryland CASA board of directors. ”She had an open home always filled with children and neighbors and [would have done] anything for anybody.”
“Every child should have an adult like Heidi in their life,” said Berson, who has advocated during the past two years for 1) a teenager who recently graduated from high school and is now pursuing further education and living independently, and 2) a four-year-old transplant patient.
Team Heidi has already exceeded its fundraising goal of $3,000: to date, team members have raised over $4,700 for Team CASA.
“We commend Sandra and Team Heidi for their inspiration to honor their dear friend by participating in the Baltimore Running Festival, and are so appreciative that they’re supporting Team CASA,” said Ed Kilcullen, Maryland CASA state director. “Proceeds from Team CASA will help us recruit more trained, committed advocates to ensure every child in Maryland their right to a safe, permanent home.”
Top fundraisers on Team CASA, as well as those who reach designated fundraising levels will receive prizes, including hotel stays in Ocean City, Annapolis and Baltimore, and restaurant gift cards.
In addition to runners and walkers, Team CASA is looking for volunteers to help out on race day. For more information; to register for Team CASA, or to support Team Heidi or other team members visit www.goteamcasa.org or call 410.828.6761.
Maryland CASA Association is a private, non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to ensuring the rights of all victims of child abuse and neglect to grow up in safe, permanent homes. This mission is carried out in partnership with the state’s15 Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) programs, which provide trained volunteer advocates to speak up for the best interests of children. For more information, visit www.marylandcasa.org.