Huntingtown, MD – It began with a lump on a baby’s leg. According to Clare Cruppenink of St. Leonard, in May of 2013 her son Dawkins was 4-months-old when she and her husband, Clayton, discovered a lump on the infant’s leg. That led to several medical tests and scans—an ultrasound, MRIs and a biopsy. Then they received the daunting diagnosis—Dawkins had a rare form of cancer and the lump was a myxoid mesenchymal tumor. The baby underwent surgery to have the tumor removed at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, DC.

The Cruppeninks made many visits during their son’s diagnosis, surgery, recovery and follow-up procedures. The experience led the couple to surmise that other families are going through a time when their stress levels were taxed and their finances also took a hit. “We could see how it could really be a burden for families,” Clare Cruppenink told TheBayNet.com.

Families keeping vigil at an out-of-town hospital end up paying out of their own pockets for necessities like parking, food, gas and childcare. The situation also results in time lost in the workplace.

Clare Cruppenink reports that Dawkins has had a clean prognosis for the past four years. “We decided we wanted to give back to help ease the financial burden,” she said.

That prompted the couple to start Dawkins Dreams, a nonprofit committed to raising money to aid families of ill children with expenses that are non-reimbursable by health insurance. Cruppenink said the organization has been able to help three families to date by providing various gift cards. “We’re young,” she said of the organization. “We’ve gotten our families through word of mouth.”

To raise the funds needed, the Cruppeninks are hosting their third Dawkins Dreams Color Blast Run Saturday, June 2 at The Calverton School in Huntingtown. The colorful dash will begin at 9 a.m. Cruppenink told TheBayNet.com that the goal this year is to raise between $15,000 to $20,000. “Our [event] sponsors have fully funded us so any donations go directly to our families,” she said. Event organizers hope to have at least 200 participants this year.

This year’s event has some additional components. There will be a “kids’ dash, a moon bounce, a carnival ride, some small concessions and Mrs. Moo’s Corner ice cream truck. 

From New York to Hawaii and especially in Florida, color blast runs are catching on as an ideal way to raise cash for a good cause. In fact, the paint race was first held in Phoenix, Arizona in 2011 and similar events have been held on every continent except Antarctica. The participants are powdered with colored paint made with food-grade corn starch.

If it all sounds like fun to you and you want to help families going through a rough time then sign up for Dawkins Dreams Color Blast Run and join the crowd June 2. For more information visit the event web site www.dawkinsdreams.com.

Contact Marty Madden at marty.madden@thebaynet.com