by Kate Berube
On September 25 the Blue Point Nature Preserve played host to the fourth annual Williams’ Chalk the Walk in memory of 7 year old Blue Point native William Schultz, who lost his battle with pediatric brain cancer in 2017. The yearly fundraiser, which coincides with the end of Childhood Cancer Awareness month, began as a meaningful way for those who cared for William to come together while celebrating his favorite things; art, music, superheroes, and laughter.
It evolved into William’s Warriors, a non profit foundation which supports research into developing therapies to treat medulloblastoma and providing art therapy kits to patients.
A cloudy start gave way to bright sunny skies that lit up the vibrant chalk illustrations lining the walking paths by afternoon. 160 4x4 spaces were purchased both in person and virtually, spanning nearly the entire park.
While it was initially feared that the event would be cancelled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Williams’ Warriors worked tirelessly to implement social distancing measures and safety precautions to enable this beloved tradition to continue. For the first time participants were given the option to submit their chalk art both in person and virtually, where all submissions were then uploaded to an online gallery. Over 5,000 people viewed the gallery and more than 1,000 votes were cast for the people’s choice award. Thanks to community turnout and generous support from local sponsors, this year’s Chalk The Walk successfully raised over $13,000 to fight against childhood cancer and helped send 75 new art therapy care packets to three local hospitals for pediatric patients.