Event Date: May 1, 2023
Location: Houston Zoo
Event: 5-K Run/Walk
Beneficiary: Easter Seals Greater Houston
No. in attendance: 4,000
Money Raised: $767,742
Chairpersons: Elizabeth & Anthony DeLuca, Katie Dowdell and Cullen Zalman and Matt Mikeska
Presenting Sponsor: Prosperity Bank
Ambassadors: Ryan, Duncan, Ethan and Riland
Photography: Jenny Antill
Thousands “Walked and Rolled” at Easter Seals Greater Houston Walk With Me
After a week of inclement weather causing havoc within the city, the sunshine returned, and 4,000 excited souls gathered at Houston Zoo to roll their wheels, stretch their legs, and Walk With Me, raising over $767,000 for Easter Seals Greater Houston’s mission of life-changing disability and veteran/military-connected services, which include helping preemies learn to crawl, connecting a nonverbal child with technology to communicate, training a veteran’s service dog, sending a teen to an accessible camp and so much more.
Event chairs Elizabeth & Anthony DeLuca, Katie Dowdell and Cullen Zalman, and Matt Mikeska, along with nine-time Presenting Sponsor Prosperity Bank and Key Sponsor Quanta Services, beamed with pride at the turnout, which had broken all previous records. The DeLuca family is especially prominent within the Easter Seals charitable support equation. They founded The Caroline School in 2002, inspired by their daughter Caroline, who passed away at the age of 16. The school within the Easter Seals Greater Houston family provides unique educational services to meet the physical, social, and cognitive needs of individuals ages 0-21 with multiple disabilities, including those with additional medical conditions not found in other facilities.
The success stories of Ambassadors Ryan, Duncan, Ethan and Riland were celebrated on stage before the beginning of the 5-K event. First, Ryan excitedly cut the starting line ribbon with a giant pair of scissors. Then, the festivities began as thousands set off to walk, roll and run through the Zoo amongst the elephants, giraffes and cheetahs, who were also enjoying a gorgeous day in the sunshine. Even chairman Elizabeth DeLuca and her friends made “prickly” conversation with Eddie the Porcupine during the journey. After the walk concluded, the lively after-party at Masihara Pavilion featured animal shows, a children’s carnival, DJ entertainment, dancing and a buffet breakfast spread.
An event’s success is usually measured by the amount of funds raised for the organization’s efforts, but it is also evaluated by the joys and smiles seen on the faces of those in attendance. Easter Seals Greater Houston can easily say that this qualifies in both categories!