Walk to End Child Abuse won’t go forward this fall

by Geoff Fox

The annual Walk to End Child Abuse has been canceled for 2018. The walk and 5K run were scheduled to take place on Saturday, September 29, in Widmeyer Park.

In a press release, McCusker said the family recently met to discuss the cancelation of the Walk to End Child Abuse. They started the walk after the death of infant Bella Appel due to child abuse in 2010.

The walk was started in the hopes of bringing awareness so other families might not have to suffer the horrific loss of a child as the family did, organizers said.

“We appreciated the outpouring of sympathy and understanding from the community and the news media when Bella died and hope the community will understand our decision,” McCusker said in the release.

There had been discussions in changing the direction of the child advocacy effort for future years, she added.

Local attorney Jordan Lysczek accepted a position on the Board of Directors of Safe Place – the Washington County Child Advocacy Center.

Her involvement, as well as the family’s, in working to bring awareness to issues of child abuse won’t end.

Instead, the family and group will be supporting a “much larger” organization that will take the walk much further than the family could ever hope to do, McCusker said.

She noted that with the dramatic increase of drug addiction and human trafficking, it is growing in magnitude and as a small group, the volunteers could not provide the information needed to cope with the drug and trafficking problems.

The family is thankful to all who “stuck with us” through the years and helped set up the walk and make it a success, McCusker said.

“We are very grateful for the impact we made as a community in honoring Bella and all victims of child abuse,” she added.

The remaining funds from the walk and Rural Children’s Fund will be distributed to local organizations helping victims of child abuse.

“Although we have put an end to the child abuse walk, we encourage all of you to continue your support of those victims in need,” she said.

A final decision has not been made yet if the event will take place in 2019, however organizers will be re-visiting the idea at the beginning of 2019, which is when the preparation needs to start.

A photo in memory of Bella E. Appel stands with candles in memory of the infant who was a victim of child abuse in 2010. Her family started the Walk to End Child Abuse in April 2011 to raise awareness to child abuse.