Saturday, June 19, 2010 was a special day for some special kids and their families. That was the day that a dozen children afflicted with brain tumors were treated to a cruise on beautiful Lake Allatoona, sponsored by the Towne Lake Optimist Club.
This was no ordinary boat ride! This was a luxury cruise on a 94-foot houseboat (can you say yacht?) skippered by owner Chris Wilson and hosted by fiancée Kelly Becker. When he was contacted by club member Charlice Byrd (State House Rep.), Chris immediately agreed to captain his beautiful boat for the kids and their families. He knew this was a special idea, because his grand niece Abigail also has a brain tumor and she joined in the fun!
Approximately 40 adults and children climbed aboard at Victoria’s Landing at 4:30 pm and enjoyed 3 ½ hours of sunshine, shoreline and gentle breezes.
The Optimist International organization, which declares itself as a Friend of Youth, sets aside the month of June as Cancer Awareness Month, and encourages local Optimist clubs to find opportunities in their communities to provide assistance and/or raise funds for this cause. This past year, the Towne Lake club members decided to organize a fun event for afflicted children and their families. A boat ride was discussed as a possibility.
As the clubs Childhood Cancer Campaign Chair, club member Roger Carter contacted the Brain Tumor Foundation for Children (www.braintumorkids.org), and learned that there were approximately 30 children in the area who were receiving support through their organization. Executive Director Mary Campbell Moore was excited to hear of the clubs interest, and discussed the idea with some of the families. It was a go! The planning began, with Roger, Mary, Charlice and Chris working on the details. It all came together, and at the last minute, even the weather cooperated!
While the parents relaxed and enjoyed conversation, food and drink with club members and each other, the children and brothers and sisters played billiards, were treated to face painting and custom animal balloons. The highlight of the afternoon was a childrens magic show, performed on the rear deck by Mr. David Bryan Smith (David@DavidBryanSmith.com). As the parents sat in the back, they could hear the oohs and aahs as the children were treated to disappearing coins, balls that seemed to multiply, and scarves coming from everywhere!