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Tour de Park likely to raise $3,500 for Project Lifesaver

September 11, 2010|By MARIE GILBERT
  • Peter Kuczera, of Hagerstown, and his mother, Inga Kuczera, take another lap around Fairgrounds Park during the Tour de Park Linn Hendershot Bike Ride for Kids of All Abilities to benefit Project Lifesaver of Washington County.
Kelly Hahn Johnson, Staff Photographer

Sometimes, fun has a serious purpose.

That was the case Saturday morning, when dozens of people participated in the third annual Tour de Park Linn Hendershot Memorial Walk, Ride or Wheelchair.

The event at Fairgrounds Park was a fundraiser for Project Lifesaver, a program that provides rapid response to missing people with autism, Alzheimer's disease, Down syndrome and other related brain disorders.

Project Lifesaver is an international program that was brought to Washington County with the help of the late N. Linn Hendershot, an advocate for people with disabilities, event organizer Lynn Deibert said.

"In order to bring it into a community, someone has to take ownership of the program," Deibert said. "So MIHI (Many Individuals Helping Individuals) took it under its wing and brought it to the county in 2006."

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Deibert, who is the local Project Lifesaver coordinator, said Tour de Park was Hendershot's idea, but he never saw the fundraiser become a reality. He died in May 2008.

"We named the event in his honor," she said. "I'm sure he would be very proud."

Deibert said Tour de Park continues to grow each year. On Saturday, people traveled from as far away as Silver Spring, Md., to participate.

The event was open to people with and without disabilities, who were invited to complete one-mile loops around the park by walking or riding bicycles, tricycles or wheelchairs. This year, a two-mile extension was offered that featured a downtown route starting at Fairground Avenue.

Organizers expected to raise about $3,500 from pledges, which will help the local program cover equipment expenses.

Deibert said the program uses radio frequency transmitters and receivers to locate and rescue people who have a tendency to wander and become lost.

Those at risk wear a small transmitter that emits a silent radio signal every second.

Deibert said several people who participated in Saturday's fundraiser are Project Lifesaver participants.

"Project Lifesaver has made a difference in people's lives," she said. "This fundraiser will help the program continue to keep individuals safe."

Deibert said people who were not able to participate in Saturday's event can make a donation to MIHI Inc./Project Lifesaver, P.O. Box 3511, Hagerstown, MD 21742.

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