LAKE WYLIE — Emma Poplin-Revels may be due for a sweet birthday present. A week early, she got one.
Poplin-Revels, diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, turns 3 on June 15. Last week Lake Wylie Children’s Charity announced the Fort Mill girl as its recipient of their 2013 efforts including an annual fall concert, lake race, golf tournament and more.
Jennifer Joye, one of several organizers with the nonprofit, said benefit efforts in recent years have become a year-round task.
“We may have some different people running the different events this year,” Joye said, “but as far as the event itself, it’ll still remain basically the same.”
The group held a charity golf tournament March 22. On Aug. 3 comes the Captain Clueless Race for the Cup, an admittedly whimsical event where boaters follow clues to stops and perform unique or comical tasks to advance. A poker run date hasn’t been finalized. The concert is set for Sept. 29.
At their 10th annual benefit concert last October, organizers presented a check to the Moore family of Lake Wylie for $42,500. Money helps offset medical bills or personal expenses for families. Last year, it helped put the Moores in a home.
The Moores now live in a Clover mill home with no mortgage and two years of fees paid. Organizers helped renovate, too.
“That was the coolest feeling when we gave (the family) those keys and said, here, now you have a home that nobody can take away from you,” said Haven Presley, who’s been helping with benefits since they began.
Organizers hope for another strong year in 2013.
“Our goal, long-term, is to be able to help more than one family (per year),” said group member Marshall Feimster. “There’s just such a need all around.”
Feimster is working to promote Captain Clueless, now in its fifth year. They’re adding a superhero theme complete with calls for costumes. Posters are going up around Lake Wylie, and the 30 to 40 needed volunteers will be recruited.
The event usually draws 20 to 25 boats. The tricky part is finding new stops each year, since participants can’t volunteer their properties due to the “unfair advantage.”
“We desperately need for some people to pony up, if they live on the lake, and let us use their dock or their yard,” Feimster said. “We’ll have volunteers manning the stations, but we need places to have it.”
Significant growth for the nonprofit in recent years has organizers looking to see how they can maintain the upward trend. Larger sponsors, perhaps even a title one, will be sought.
Locally, corporate giving has been strong from the beginning. Anything from T-Bones on the Lake hosting group meetings and the fall benefit concert for a decade to Anytime Fitness, which in November held a 5K run to benefit the group.
Organizers say it isn’t about setting a new financial record each year.
It’s about the help that each dollar brings a family who can use it. Sometimes it allows parents time off work to spend with an ailing child. Sometimes it pays utilities.
“That money makes a difference,” Presley said.