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Atlanta Braves: Walks for Recovery program allows walks to help people with spinal cord injuries

cindy donald fredi gonzalez
The Atlanta Braves, led by manager Fredi Gonzalez, right, and Cindy Donald join forces to raise money for people living with spinal cord injuries.
Walks aren't something generally worth rooting for in a baseball game, but the Atlanta Braves and Cindy's Walks for Recovery are giving fans - especially the philanthropically inclined – a reason to cheer the free pass.
As part of the fundraiser for Cindy's Walks for Recovery, every walk an Atlanta Braves batter draws this year will prompt donations that will help people who have suffered spinal cord injuries, many of whom are children, with their rehabilitation.
“You want to do something for your community,” said Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez, whose team opens the season today. “I thought it was a great idea.”
The program actually began late last season, raising more than $10,000 for spinal cord injury patients, with second baseman Dan Uggla drawing the most walks during that time period.
Program founder, Cindy Donald, says she feels blessed to be working with the Braves.
“You grow up watching the Atlanta Braves and thinking about these idols and these celebrities, and you don't realize that they are great people who have hearts and want to help,” Donald said.
The fundraising effort is even more admirable considering Donald's own experience. She has been wheelchair bound since 2005 following her own severe spinal cord injury after being accidentally struck by a car in her driveway.
Insurance ultimately covered the cost of Donald's therapy and other necessary equipment. Rather than dwell on her situation, Donald chose to try to help other people in the same predicament. She founded the Cindy Donald Dreams of Recovery Foundation, which raises money to help people with spinal cord injuries afford the treatment and rehab equipment they need.
“The most rewarding part of this work is when you give somebody a piece of equipment and they say, 'I haven't been able to stand in seven years,'” Donald said. “Thanks to this equipment, I can.”
Donald attended the same high school as Gonzalez's children – though not at the same time. He learned about Donald's foundation from friends and family at a local coffee spot.
Braves' flagship radio station 680 The Fan will carry public service announcements throughout the season letting listeners know about Cindy's Walks for Recovery. Donald is also hoping to find a corporate sponsor for the program.
Right now, Donald's organization has more than 50 people on a waiting list hoping for grants that usually total $15,000. The money is paid directly to the spinal cord injury sufferer, allowing them to get rehab equipment and therapy they need.
Care to Click is not affiliated with Cindy's Walks for Recovery, but we encourage people who want to aid Cindy's cause to visit the Cindy Donald Dreams of Recovery Foundation website. Those interested can also text “Walks” to 51555 which will sign them up for a 10-cent-per-walk pledge.
Participants through the website can pledge as little as 10 cents per walk. Last year Atlanta drew 542 walks. If they repeat that number, a 10 cent pledge will lead to a donation of $54.20
“If we can get on base anyway, I like it,” Donald said. “I'll take a walk any day to help other people.”
Gonzalez said the Braves as an organization believe it is important to give back to the community. It's a belief they try to instill in players early in their development.
“In the minor league we bring them up doing that so when they come up to the big leagues community is No. 1,” Gonzalez said.
Like the Braves, Care To Click understands the importance of giving back to our community. Care To Click members will recall the CarePage we established for Florida resident Cruise Bogle, who suffered a spinal cord injury while skim boarding. Those unfamiliar to Cruise Bogle's CarePage are invited to visit and see how a few simple internet actions can help raise money for his ongoing treatment.
Also, feel free to check out the CareToClick.com Children page to donate a free click or print useful coupons. At Care To Click, small actions can make major impacts for important causes.
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