United Way will reach fundraising goalPublished 10:23am Saturday, December 1, 2012
The Lake Martin Area United Way announced at its final campaign luncheon Friday that it has raised $471,705.84, 86 percent of its 2013 fundraising goal.
“We can confidently say we’ll reach our goal of $550,000 for 2012 once it’s all said and done,” said Tom Lamberth, the 2013 campaign chairman. “We have a lot of money still to come in. We had some challenges, but we’ve had more organizations contribute more money this year. We’ve touched more people this year.”
Allison Wetherbee of Alabama’s Special Camp for Children and Adults was the guest speaker for the luncheon.
Wetherbee was born without arms or legs and first attended Camp ASCCA at age 7.
“My childhood was spent at Camp ASCCA,” Wetherbee said. “My story is so intertwined with Camp ASCCA’s.”
Wetherbee said the camp, which serves approximately 8,000 people annually, provides a year-round opportunity for children and adults with disabilities to have a normal camping experience and adventure opportunities.
“We have activities like a sit and ski that are fully handicap accessible,” Wetherbee said. “That’s huge for somebody who’s been paralyzed from the waist down.”
Wetherbee said the adventure activities like water sports, ropes course and zip line give campers a sense of independence and confidence.
“Camp ASCCA pushes our campers to do what they think they can’t,” Wetherbee said. “It makes them feel like there’s nothing they can’t do outside of Camp ASCCA.”
The camp breaks sessions down into age groups not disabilities, which Wetherbee said helps campers to learn from their peer group.
“They learn from people with different challenges and obstacles from them,” Wetherbee said. “It makes them appreciative of what they do have.”
Wetherbee spoke about her own abilities and challenges as well.
“I use my mouth for pretty much everything,” Wetherbee said. “My writing was the same as my peer group by fifth grade. I use a cellphone, and I can email.”
Sharon Fuller, Lake Martin Area United Way executive director, thanked Wetherbee for sharing her story and the 23 United Way sponsored agencies for the work they do in the community.
“You have blessed my heart,” Fuller said. “Thank you to the agencies. You are the reason we’re here.”
Lamberth said although the fundraising event has been successful, it needs to improve.
“We need to raise more,” Lamberth said. “(Our goal) $550,000 is not enough money. We’ve come a long way, but we’ve more to go.”
To donate or learn more about the Lake Martin Area United Way, visit www.unitedwaylakemartin.org.