Elizabeth Thulin of Hilton is looking forward to this year’s Al Sigl Community WalkAbout at Eastview Mall on October 27th. “This will be my first Walk. This is also the first time that I’ve rallied family and friends as a group for an event,” she says with a smile. “It’s been fun. It helps that everyone is excited about getting involved. The event is short – just a few hours in the morning, and it’s indoors, which makes it easy for families.”
There’s also a personal connection. People who take part in WalkAbout can choose to help raise funds for any of Al Sigl’s six Member Agencies. Elizabeth, who works for First Niagara Risk Management, is helping the First Niagara team raise funds for Epilepsy-Pralid, Inc., in honor of her cousin Casey.
"Al Sigl has helped my cousin Casey in so many ways.” Elizabeth says, “Casey was diagnosed with epilepsy when he was four years old after having a stroke when he was three. In 1999, Casey went to Johns Hopkins fora very rare surgical procedure where one half of the brain was removed in hope of ending his daily grand mal seizures. Sadly, the surgery was not successful yet Casey participates in many programs offered by Al Sigl Member Agencies, including summer camp, fundraising events and a day work program, which he loves. He loves contributing and being recognized for his efforts.”
“When Casey was asked to paint a mask for the mask gallery, we were excited, because he loves to paint.” Elizabeth continues, “I had reached out to volunteer at Epilepsy-Pralid because I was looking for the opportunity to give back. Supporting the organizations that have helped Casey really spoke to me. It’s nice that we can all get involved.”
Elizabeth is also proud that her employer is a major sponsor of a cause close to her heart. “First Niagara is really philanthropic - they support so many causes.” She says, “I was really excited to learn that John Lynch, First Vice President, and his wife Laura Saxby Lynch are the event co-chairs. It’s been really great to invite people to join the First Niagara team and celebrate with us on the 27th.”
John agrees, noting “Laura and I are very involved in volunteer roles in the community. It’s something we feel strongly about. To have the opportunity to make a charitable commitment together, as co-chairs of the Al Sigl WalkAbout, was great. We have long supported the work of Al Sigl and its Member Agencies, so it’s a pleasure to help raise funds for an organization that helps those with disabilities find their true abilities.”
While mask decorating activities provided a mission-driven art therapy project for Al Sigl Member Agencies, the Mask Gallery also provided exciting new ways for individuals and local businesses to get involved. The majority of the 120 masks created for this year’s WalkAbout have already been sponsored, with only a handful of masks still available. The entire gallery is now on display at Eastview Mall, with 50 of the 120 masks available for auction and viewable on www.Facebook.com/AlSiglCommunity.
To learn more about the Mask Gallery or becoming a Team Leader for the Al Sigl Community WalkAbout, please visit www.alsigl.org or call (585) 442-4102, ext. 8944.