Dash for Dylan planned in memory of Falls student
Event raises funds for Catch-A-Dream Foundation
Menomonee Falls — Menomonee Falls students are taking steps their classmate Dylan Smith can no longer take.
Smith, who would have been a freshman at Menomonee Falls High School this year, passed away in October 2012. To honor his memory, the Menomonee Falls High School Student Council is hosting Dash for Dylan, a 5K run/walk at 9 a.m. Oct. 12 at the high school track, N8101 Merrimac Drive.
"Since Dylan was a part of our community we thought it would be nice to give back," Student Council member Rachel Schmeling said.
The walk will raise money for the Catch-A-Dream Foundation, a nonprofit organization that takes children with chronic or life-threatening diseases on hunting and fishing trips.
Dylan was diagnosed with Duchennes Muscular Dystrophy when he was 5-years-old. The disorder causes muscle degeneration, which confined Dylan to a wheelchair at the age of 7 and limited his mobility.
Dylan's disease was not genetic. Rather, it was a result of a gene mutation. The disease rapidly and unexpectedly progressed and Dylan passed away on Oct. 20, 2012.
"It shook us all," said Shirley Smith, Dylan's grandmother and athletic secretary at Falls High School.
When Dylan was 9-years-old he was invited on a hunting trip to Little Flats Ranch in Missouri through the Catch-A-Dream Foundation. Using a specially designed wheelchair and with a little help from his dad, Dylan shot his first deer. Catch-A-Dream Foundation paid for the entire trip, processed the deer meat and mounted the deer head so Dylan could take it home with him.
"It really was quite an experience, and ever since then he couldn't wait to go hunting with his dad and grandpa," Smith said. "He was a very outgoing boy."
It was Smith who suggested the money raised at Dash for Dylan be given to the Catch-A-Dream Foundation.
Organizing Dash for Dylan is not the first time students at Menomonee Falls have rallied for Dylan. In February 2012, the students helped raise money to buy Dylan a recreational wheelchair that could travel through snow, sand and trails. As a bonus, it helped him go hunting.
"He touched the whole village. He was never bullied," Smith said. "Those kids just stood by him, it was awesome."
The Student Council is hoping to make Dash for Dylan an annual event and keep Dylan's memory alive, Student Council Adviser Margaret Hangos said.
"(The students) have been real go-getters and they are very determined to put on a good show for everyone and have a great run," she said. "We're excited to get the first one going and grow from there."
For information on Dash for Dylan or to register, visit dashdylan.weebly.com.
AT A GLANCE
WHAT: Dash for Dylan
WHEN: 9 a.m. Oct. 12 (registration from 7 to 8:30 a.m.)
WHERE: Menomonee Falls High School, N8101 Merrimac Drive
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