Thousands of runners enjoyed sunshine and seasonable running weather for the tenth annual Chartway Norfolk Harbor Race Weekend. Chartway Credit Union, serving as title sponsor, surprised two medically fragile children – 4-year-old Aria and 14-year-old Aira-Mae – with the news that their dreams were coming true thanks to grants provided by Chartway’s charitable arm, the Chartway Promise Foundation, to Toby’s Dream Foundation.
The weekend kicked off at the Expo at the Half Moon Cruise and Celebration Center on Friday, Nov. 17 and was followed by the 5K and Kids Mile on Saturday and the 10K and Half Marathon on Sunday. Several Chartway leaders and team members ran in the races. The rest of our team volunteered at the event or posted up in the “Mile of Smiles” Cheer Zone to encourage runners during the race. Participants enjoyed post-race parties with music, food, and a surprise Dream Reveal for a Promise Hero both Saturday and Sunday.
Four-year-old Aria, who suffers from Hemophagocytic Lymphohistiocytosis, and 14-year-old Aira-Mae, who has Medulloblastoma, have both dreamed of visiting Disney World, and each celebrated with their families onstage as they discovered their dreams would be coming true.
Aira-Mae was speechless upon the announcement Saturday morning of the granting of her dream trip to Disney; the news was a genuine surprise.
Aria smiled while her parents told us how excited she was to visit Mickey and Minnie at their home in the Magic Kingdom. “She simply loves all the princesses – especially Tatiana. I see a princess costume in our future,” said her father, Shawn.
“We are absolutely thrilled every time we can help fund a medically fragile child’s dream come true,” said Christine Wilson, president of the Chartway Promise Foundation. “We know that our Promise Heroes and their families need bright days to help sustain them during difficult times. I am so grateful to long-standing partners J&A Racing and Toby’s Dream Foundation for making it possible.”
“We were honored to be the Title Sponsor for the weekend’s events,” explained Brian Schools, Chartway president and CEO. “At Chartway, we value community and community-minded partners; and appreciate all the support the J&A Racing team has given us over the years.”
“Our J&A Racing team is honored to partner with Chartway to support the Chartway Promise Foundation’s granting of memorable experiences for local children facing medical challenges,” said Jerry Frostick, J&A racing co-race director.
J&A Racing presented the Chartway Promise Foundation with a $5,000 check after the races to help fund future grants for Promise Heroes.
Since 1999, the Chartway Promise Foundation has raised nearly $15 million to bring joy, hope, and smiles to medically fragile children and their families. Visit www.ChartwayPromiseFoundation.org to learn more, donate, or request a grant.