PLATTSBURGH - It was more than a year ago Alek Duprey's father, Randy Duprey, succumbed to scleroderma, an autoimmune disease. And, though he's only 2 years old, Alek knows there's something special about Sunday, June 13.
"It's dada's walk," he said.
The walk which Alek referred to is the second annual Scleroderma Walk in Memory of Randy Duprey. It was a year ago the first walk was held in Randy's memory to raise money for The Scleroderma Foundation. The event, organized by Randy's wife and Alek's mother, Kate Duprey, raised nearly $15,000 for scleroderma research and raised awareness of the crippling disease.
"It's a special day," Duprey said of the event. "It raises money for the foundation and it's a day Alek knows is to keep his father's memory alive."
The basic formula for this year's event will remain the same, said Duprey. In addition to the walk/run, the event will include a bake sale, face painting, a 50/50 drawing, and live entertainment.
"We're going to have all the same things as last year, because it was so successful, I didn't want to change much," said Duprey. "We just added a bounce house for the kids."
A silent auction will return this year, featuring tickets to a New York Mets game, a boy's bicycle, gift certificates and gift baskets.
"The items are just rolling in," said Duprey.
Participants will also receive a T-shirt and bag, with those raising $250 or more for the foundation receiving a fleece stadium blanket.
Duprey said she'd like to see as many participants or more this year. Last year's event saw 313 people walking for the cause.
"This year, we have on-line registration, and we've already got 39 people signed up," said Duprey. "We have a Facebook page that has 178 confirmed guests and another 319 maybe showing up."
Whatever it takes to bring more people in and raise money for The Scleroderma Foundation, is what Duprey is willing to do, she said. Especially considering she recently learned scleroderma is now believed to be genetically linked in 1 in 100 cases.
"So, I have reason more than ever to find a cure for this disease," Duprey said as she looked at her son. "I really hope we can do as well for the foundation this year, if not, better. We just want to do the very best we can for them."
The June 13 walk will again be held at the Beekmantown Town Hall Park, 571 Spellman Road, beginning with registration at 9 a.m., and the walk/run to begin at 10:15 a.m.
For more information about the walk, including how to make donations toward the event, visit Duprey's Web site at www.thedupreyfamily.blogspot.com.