Walk for Water showcases community support

  • Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Elizabeth Paige, mother of Marley Lion presented Mia Llamas, 8, with the inaugural Marley Lion Spirit Award.


The Water Missions International seventh annual Walk for Water in Charleston raised more than $190,000 on March 23 in conjunction with World Water Day. Funds contributed from the event will allow the nonprofit organization to provide safe water and sanitation solutions to more than 19,000 people in developing countries and disaster areas.

The walk in downtown Charleston inspired more than 1,800 participants from all over South Carolina and surrounding states to experience the daily trek women and children in developing countries make every day to collect water that is unsafe for human consumption. Participants were invited to carry buckets filled with dirty water halfway through the walk. At the end of the walk, the dirty water was then filtered through the organization’s Living Water Treatment System (LWTS), the primary treatment tool used in safe water solutions.

Team “Heart of the Lion” raised the most funds out of 130 teams, contributing more than $17,000. The team was formed in memory of slain teenager Marley Lion, whose life infused energy and love into everyone he met. Now, lives will continue to be transformed by the gift of safe water in his honor.

“‘The Heart of the Lion’ team was able to help our family beautifully honor our Marley Lion’s great love of life by giving the gift of life and health to others,” said Elizabeth Paige, mother of Marley Lion. “We could see our son’s spirit reflected in many during the 2013 Walk for Water - his outgoing friendliness in the smiles of the walkers, his solid courage in the Kenyans leading the walk, his contagious joy in the laughter of the children and his amazing strength in the youth proudly carrying their bucket of water without complaint.”

Notably, the inaugural ‘Marley Lion Spirit Award’ was presented at this year’s walk, in honor of Lion. The award recognizes a passionate participant in the Walk for Water and an advocate fighting for the global water crisis. This year’s award was presented to Mia Llamas, an 8-year-old girl who asked friends to donate to Water Missions International in lieu of presents for her birthday. She also held fundraisers in her hometown of Galax, Va., before traveling with her family to the event.

“Every year we continue to be amazed by the outpouring of community support,” said Brittany Fogle, special events coordinator at Water Missions International. “We could not fulfill our mission if we did not have passionate sponsors and advocates for our organization and our cause.”

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