By Ezra Powers
William Shultz would have been 13 this year.
A bright Blue Point Elementary second grader, who loved superheroes and drawing, William lost his two year battle with pediatric cancer in 2016 at the age of seven. That following September in honor of William's birthday, William’s Warriors, made up of his family and friends, created the first Chalk the Walk at the newly opened Blue Point Nature Preserve. I remember that first year my cousins and I drew turtles, William’s favorite, in chalk pastels that never quite came out of my sneakers.
Each year since, on a sunny Saturday in late September, we head down to the nature preserve to continue the fight against childhood cancer and celebrate William's life and legacy by decorating a 4x4 square in his memory. With music blasting BBP art students, athletes, teachers, and parents fill the walkways throughout the entire park with messages and drawing. The end result is always a vibrant messy patchwork of art spread through the heart of our community, a never ending yearly love letter to a little boy we lost.
Through raffle tickets and squares, this year's chalk walk raised $14,000 for research into a cure for Medulloblastoma. It’s made possible by the continuous support of generous local sponsors and the amazing dedicated efforts of William’s Warriors, led by Jim and Margaret Shultz. Six years later, for me William is a reminder of the best parts of the place I was raised. The love we carry for our neighbors, the support we show each other in good times and bad, and the pure childhood joy we still find in each other when we slow down long enough to look.
You too can be a superhero in the fight against childhood cancer! Go to www.williamswarriors.org to learn more about ways you can help William’s Warriors and save the date for the 7th annual Chalk the Walk, next September.