Bay View students leading the NEW Donate Life Wisconsin Walk
By Ben Rodgers
HOWARD – Two eighth-graders at Bay View Middle School are leading the charge to raise $20,000 for charity through a fun walk/run April 13.
“All of the money that we raise goes directly to Donate Life Wisconsin to fuel their education and awareness campaigns toward organ donation,” said Eloise Massee, event co-chair. “Right now in Wisconsin more than half of people have the dot on their driver’s license to donate their organs, but it’s still not 100 percent. But we are fueling Donate Life Wisconsin so they can continue to educate the public and strive to reach everyone.”
Massee was selected by faculty to co-chair the event with Jessica Avery. The two are also members of the Bay View Student Council.
The duo chairs a committee of seven Bay View students who started planning for the April 13 walk/run last summer.
The committee is assisted by two faculty advisors.
In its seventh year, the Donate Life Wisconsin Walk raised $18,400 last year, which is why the girls set the goal at $20,000 with 600 participants.
“For me, ever since becoming the chair there’s been more responsibility than I had last year,” Avery said. “I wasn’t on the actual student council, so it was a big step up for me. Just staying on top of everything and communicating with everybody is probably what I learned most of all.”
In order to make the walk/run a success, the girls have hit the pavement in the Howard-Suamico area and obtained more than 100 items for a silent auction at the event.
This meant making appointments, talking with business owners and getting them to donate.
“I think I learned a lot of communication skills, because you have to make sure you’re on board with the advisors and you have to relay the message to the committee and the entire student council, and especially with the business visits, you have to make sure everybody is on board and has the right information, but in the end it worked out,” Massee said.
There is also a penny battle at Bay View right now where different houses compete to see who can raise the most.
Staff can also dress casual on Fridays with a donation to the walk/run.
Mary Swinford, co-advisor to the Bay View Student Council with Gail Burant, said raising money for Donate Life Wisconsin is important, but the skills the students learn are valuable, too.
“We as advisors are hoping they learn the importance of having a cause in your life,” Swinford said. “There’s a big piece of being a leader that is giving back.”
This year’s NEW Donate Life Walk is extra special as the grand marshal is a current seventh-grader at Bay View.
Lauren Wolfe had a heart transplant seven years ago, and her family has been a part of the event since the first one.
“It’s a really great cause and we’re definitely supporting lots of people,” Wolfe said. “You’re going to take away a really amazing experience from it.”
Walkers along the 2 1/2-mile route also can also learn about stories from organ donors and recipients in the garden walk portion of the event.
“I think it’s really interesting,” Massee said. “It’s a little different than most walks, because it is such a great cause, but also it shows so many people working together throughout the community. Erin Davidson as master of ceremonies, the Bay View Student Council and Donate Life Wisconsin is going to be there to help people register as a donor. It’s just so many people working together in our community.”
Those interested in participating can register online at newdonatelifewalk.weebly.com through the Friday before the walk/run for $15.
Day-of registration is $20. Registration for walk/run begins at 8 a.m. with the event starting at 9 a.m. on Saturday, April 13, at Bay View Middle School.
People can also learn more about the silent auction and how to donate at the website as well.