Fashionable additions planned for remembrance fundraiser

By Ed Karvoski Jr., Contributing Writer

 Michaella Walsh Libby Photo/submitted

Michaella Walsh Libby

Hudson – Fun, fashionable additions are planned for the fourth annual Miles and Smiles for Michaella, a 3.2-mile memorial walk scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 24, beginning and ending at Morgan Bowl in Hudson. Proceeds go to the Michaella Walsh Libby Scholarship Fund, which is awarded to students who share her interest in community service or will major in a health-related field. Donations are also contributed to Kids Power and Students Helping Honduras (SHH).

The walk is the fundraiser’s major component, but the fun begins with a 50-yard High-Heeled Dash, noted Michaella’s parents Erin Walsh-Libby and Marty Libby.

“Like a lot of girls, Michaella was really into fashion and shoes,” Marty said.

One brave man donned stilettoes in its first year. Male participation steadily increased each year since.

“We were getting a stronger representation from men, so we’re adding a second High-Heeled Dash for them,” Erin announced.

Among last year’s men dashers was Marty, who unexpectedly gave it a try.

“Marty will be doing the High-Heeled Dash again this year,” Erin shared. “He already has his hot pink shoes ready to go.”

Another male newcomer last year was George Larassa of Marlborough. In addition to high heels, he raced wearing a pink tutu and inspired the dash to become even more colorful.

“George brought a new fun factor to the event,” Erin explained. “We thought about having more creativity around the High-Heeled Dash, so we decided to add a couple of contests to spice it up a bit.”

Prizes will be presented for the highest heels and pinkest outfit. Michaella’s favorite color was pink.

After graduating from Hudson High School in 2010, Michaella majored in public health at the University of Maryland (UM). There, she tutored inner-city children with Kids Power in Washington, D.C., and fundraised for the UM chapter of SHH, with whom she planned to travel and help build a school. However, she died unexpectedly in 2012 at age 20, only weeks before that trip.

SHH is described on its website as “a movement to end extreme poverty and violence in Honduras through education and youth empowerment.” UM students went to Honduras and built a school, which is dedicated to Michaella.

“SHS continues to build more schools,” Erin said. “We continue to give them a yearly donation from proceeds of the walk.”

In the fundraiser’s first two years, a clothing and school supply drive was conducted for Honduran children. Last year, soccer equipment was collected for a program to help keep Honduran youth out of gangs. This year, loose change will be collected with the goal of enough funds for a laptop or two to be used at orphaned children homes in Honduras.

“The issue that came up last year was getting these things we collected over to Honduras because there’s no UPS,” Erin noted. “People need to bring it in with luggage, and it’s getting harder to do that now because there’s a limit of how much you can bring. So we decided to collect money and they can use it toward something in particular that they need.”

Onsite check-in starts at 9:30 a.m. The High-Heeled Dashes are 10 a.m. The 3.2- mile walk is 10:30 a.m., as well as the shorter “Michaella’s Mile.” Onsite raffles will be available.

The fundraiser will conclude with a pink balloon release.

“Michaella did a lot more to help people in 20 years than we have in our lifetimes,” Marty said. “It’s important for us to get together once a year with our family, friends and whoever knows Michaella to celebrate her life.”

Registration fee is $15 students and seniors, and $20 adults. To register in advance through Friday, Oct. 23, which includes a T-shirt, visit michaellawalshlibby.com.

(l to r) Kayley Fannon, George Larassa and Kate Flannigan lead the pack of last year’s high-heeled racers

(l to r) Kayley Fannon, George Larassa and Kate Flannigan lead the pack of last year’s high-heeled racers
File photo/Ed Karvoski Jr.

Short URL: http://www.communityadvocate.com/?p=66884

Posted by on Sep 30 2015. Filed under Byline Stories, Hudson, Sports, Stories With Good Photos. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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