Carrying a torch for children's health

Participants in the walk to benefit the Children's Miracle Network Charity leave the beach near Jolley Bridge to walk to the Marriot. Morgan Dulski, 9, was one of many torch carriers.

Photo by ROGER LALONDE

Participants in the walk to benefit the Children's Miracle Network Charity leave the beach near Jolley Bridge to walk to the Marriot. Morgan Dulski, 9, was one of many torch carriers.

Rick Medwedeff, general manager of the Marco Island Marriott Resort, walked about five feet before 10-year-old Morgan Dulski grabbed the torch from his hands.

The Tommie Barfield Elementary student took the afternoon off from school to participate in the Children's Miracle Network's Torch Relay, and wanted to make sure that she was able to carry the torch for at least a few minutes.

"It's heavy," Morgan said, as she grabbed hold of the torch.

This is the sixth time the Dulski family, originally from Atlanta, has participated in the walk, said Larry Dulski, Morgan's father.

Henry Stone of Wesley Chapel helped bring The Chirldren's Miracle Netwoork Charity's torch to Goodland as part of a 5,800-mile trek to California in hopes of raising $1 million for the charity. He will continue on the relay until he reaches Lakeland later today.

Photo by ROGER LALONDE

Henry Stone of Wesley Chapel helped bring The Chirldren's Miracle Netwoork Charity's torch to Goodland as part of a 5,800-mile trek to California in hopes of raising $1 million for the charity. He will continue on the relay until he reaches Lakeland later today.

"It's for a great cause," Dulski said. "And with a (10-year-old) and a 4-year-old child, you hate to think that something could happen to them."

Marco Island was just one of the stops on the 21-day trek across the United States, said Amy Moyer, spokeswoman for the relay.

The goal is to have sponsors make donations along the 5,800-mile trek from Baltimore to Hollywood. Wednesday was day 10 of the trip, which has an overall fundraising goal of $1 million.

The torch was in Miami on Tuesday, Moyer said. While in Miami - and up until it crossed into Collier County - participants in the Torch Relay were raising money for the Miami Children's Hospital, according to a hospital spokeswoman.

Once the torch crossed into Collier County, participants began raising money for the All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg, said Holly Brody, a hospital spokeswoman.

The Marco Island Marriott Resort was the Marco Island sponsor, Moyer said. Marriott is also a nationwide sponsor, Medwedeff added.

Helen Moore-Harbeson, 51, took the afternoon off to walk the 3.5 miles between the Jolley Bridge, where the walk began, to the Marco Island Marriott Resort. Moore-Harbeson said she was eager to participate in this year's walk.

Rick Medwedef, general manager of the Marco Island Marriott Resort, is passed the torch by Pam O'Sadnick as Children's Miracle Network Charity in the organization's torch relay, going from Baltimore to California. Marco Island and Goodland were stop-offs on day 10 of the 21-day trek with a goal to raise $1 million.

Photo by ROGER LALONDE

Rick Medwedef, general manager of the Marco Island Marriott Resort, is passed the torch by Pam O'Sadnick as Children's Miracle Network Charity in the organization's torch relay, going from Baltimore to California. Marco Island and Goodland were stop-offs on day 10 of the 21-day trek with a goal to raise $1 million.

Melinda McCown, director of recreation, said about 45 employees walked on Wednesday. This was the second time the resort participated in the event.

"The one thing I believe in is the spirit to serve," McCowen said. "We encourage our employees to come and do this."

The Torch Relay began in Orlando, Moyer said, as an attempt to raise money for local children's hospitals.

The relay slowly branched out, before becoming a nationwide event about two years ago.

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