BY MARY WICOFF firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
---- — DANVILLE — As a teenager, Charlene Cessna could spend her Saturday morning sleeping in or hanging with friends.
Instead, the 17-year-old devotes time to something she’s passionate about — Walk for Life to benefit the Women’s Care Clinic.
“Everybody should have a chance at life,” said Cessna, a home-schooled senior who lives near Potomac. “I know that I’m helping to raise money to save babies and help mothers take care of their babies and to help people respect life.”
The 2-mile fundraiser will begin at 9 a.m. Saturday at Lincoln Park, with registration at 8 a.m. The walkers will go to the Care Clinic at 200 W. Williams St., and then return to the park.
People are encouraged to pre-register to be a sponsored walker, although people may register on the day of the walk, as well. Participants must have a pledge sheet, which they can get in advance or fill out before the walk.
Registered walkers who raise $250 or more will receive a free T-shirt. The theme for this year’s Walk for Life is “Creating a Culture of Life, One Child at a Time.”
Cessna said she has participated in the walk for six or seven years, and is joined by her family — sister, Colleen, 15, and parents, Elizabeth and Todd Cessna. Actually, her mother is the one who got the family involved, the teenager said.
Cessna also enlisted 13 people from her church, St. Anthony’s Catholic Church in Hoopeston, to walk.
“I tell people to do what their heart tells them to do, to stand up for what’s right and don’t go along with the crowd,” she said.
This is an important issue to her, she said, and she encourages others to step out on Saturday.
Kim Padan, director of the Care Clinic, said the walk is a major fundraiser for the clinic. The goal is to have 400 sponsored walkers raising $80,000, which will go toward operating expenses.
If someone wants to make a donation without getting sponsors, he’s welcome to write a check at the registration table. “No gift is too small and no gift is too large,” Padan said.
Sometimes, a walker will sponsor himself or his children. Also, the sponsors don’t have to live locally, Padan said, and the clinic will send out the bills to them. Money is not collected in advance.
“It’s a fun, upbeat event,” Padan said. “It’s very family friendly. People come with kids in strollers or wagons.”
Each year, she hopes the event attracts new walkers.
Women’s Care Clinic, which was incorporated in 1992, is a non-profit organization that provides services free of charge to residents of Vermilion County and beyond. Services include free pregnancy testing; limited obstetrical ultrasound to verify pregnancy; and material assistance, including baby clothes and furniture, diapers, car seats, etc.
In addition, the clinic provides support services such as adoption information and referrals, information on abortion risks, education on fetal development and pregnancy, spiritual support, post-abortion support, and referrals for legal aid, medical care and other social services. The clinic is privately funded, receiving no state or federal funds.
Families, churches, and businesses are encouraged to participate in this special event. Each year (after all pledges have been tallied), the clinic acknowledges the top 10 churches, adult individuals, and youth individuals in its newsletter and online.
FYI To register and get a sponsor sheet, call the Women's Care Clinic at 431-0987, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. today and Friday. Walkers also may register on the day of the walk. Visit the website www.danvilleisprolife.com for more information.