Record Participation for IAAPA Charity 5K/1K Fun Run and Walk, Footprints from the Heart

by Prasana William

On a foggy Florida morning, 254 runners and their supporters gathered Thursday among the fairytale cottages of Give Kids The World (GKTW) Village to raise funds for the charity’s 30-year-old mission. The IAAPA Charity 5K/1K Fun Run and Walk, Footprints from the Heart drew a record number of participants this year.

“Hopefully there are new folks who have never visited the Village before and get to experience it firsthand and take it to heart, take it home with them, and see what amazing work is done here,” said Trever Knoebel of Knoebels Amusement Resort, one of the co-chairs of the event. “GKTW provides that family unit the chance to escape the reality these kids are facing. We’re all in the business of entertaining families and this is a chance for families who need it, probably the most, to get that time together.”

GKTW provides a magical week of vacation for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families at the Village, located in Kissimmee, Florida, just outside of Orlando. IAAPA provides many opportunities for IAAPA Attractions Expo attendees to support GKTW during the week of the event.

This was Andrew Chaffel of Setpoint’s first year attending the Expo and participating in the run. When business partner Simtec Systems told him about the mission of GKTW and the run, he took the message to heart: “It’s always nice to give back to the community and make the amusement world matter. Any way you can give back and contribute is worth doing.”

TrioTech brought the largest group of runners to the company’s first year participating in the run. “Once we found out what the charity is about we said, ‘OK, we have to be here,’” said Martha Lopez, TrioTech trade show organizer.

The Harlem Globetrotters were on hand to warm up participants before they launched onto a race course that wound through the candy-colored cottages where visiting families stay.

Ethan Knoebel of Knoebels Amusement Resort was the run’s overall winner. “When you finish this race, you don’t just feel good that you finished it. You feel good that you did it for a good cause,” he said.

Jordanna Bauer won the women’s race. Of her motivation to join the run this year, she said, “I live in Orlando and I see GKTW visitors go around Disney and Universal. It’s so amazing and I wanted to be part of that.”

To learn more about GKTW, visit Booth #3431.


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