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28 Feb. 16 – March 1, 2013 Youth Gold medalist featured at fundraiser Meet Arizona’s four-time Olympic gold medalist Matt Grevers and his fiancé, USA Swim team member Annie Chandler, as they cheer on swimmers to help sick kids from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sat., March 2, during the 8th Annual Blake’s Miracle Festival, hosted by SWIMkids USA, 2725 W. Guadalupe Rd. in Mesa. Grevers and Chandler will hand out medals to swimmers during the fundraiser. The event also features a silent auction, business expo, train rides, cake walk, bounce house, face painting, raffle and more. At past events, older children swam as many as 350 laps. The tiniest “swimmers,” ages 18 months to 3 years, floated for as long as 45 minutes. At the completion of their swims, each child is given a standing ovation on the awards stage. “I’ve been doing this since I was two years old,” says fifth grader Eileen Spahle. “I can’t wait to swim again this year.” The festival is named in honor of 2-year-old Blake Whitehead, a family member of SWIMkids USA’s founders, who died in 2006 after his diagnosis of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. For a terminally ill child bravely battling cancer, life can be filled with pain. There is pain from being sick. There may be pain from procedures designed to make them well. During the evening, hundreds of young swimmers and baby floaters will push their own limits as they earn money for music therapy and massage therapy for sick children at Banner Cardon Children’s Medical Center. BLAKE’S MIRACLE: Eight years ago, Blake Whitehead’s family, founders of Mesa’s SWIMkids USA, lost their precious little red-haired boy after a three-month battle with acute “Stress hormones can delay healing lymphoblastic leukemia. They started Blake’s Miracle Foundation to turn their profound grief and that may increase the likelihood of into something wonderful and have already raised almost a quarter of a million dollars. This infection says Teri Reyburn-Orne, pain year, they hope to raise $20,000 more. Blake is shown flanked by his parents, Brandon, left, team program manager at Cardon. “The and Kelle Whitehead. Submitted photo money from Blake’s Miracle pays for comfort therapies that have a tremendous healing effect.” Blake’s Miracle Festival money also goes for drowning prevention programs and it paid for a child-friendly Treatment Room at Cardon that bears Blakes’ name. The beautiful treatment room means no child has to have a painful procedure in their own hospital bed like it was for Blake when he was battling leukemia in 2006. Call 480-820-9109 or go to to learn more. USA SWIM COUPLE: Olympic gold medalist swimmer Matt Grevers and his fiancé, USA Swimming team member Annie Chandler, are good friends with little swimmers and baby floaters at SWIMkids USA. For the second year in a row they will hand out medals to the healthy children who spend their day at the swim-a-thon and float-a-thon on March 2, which raises money to brighten the lives of very sick East Valley children. Submitted photo Register for Spring Classes! The spring Break Time magazine outlining all-ages recreation classes, youth spring intersession camps and special events for March, April and May is available at libraries and recreation centers and at Registration is now open for residents and non-residents. For more information, call 782-2727. Chandler Recreation Offers A Variety of Spring Activities! Sonoran Sunset Series at Environmental Education Center is March 21 The Environmental Education Center presents the Sonoran Sunset Series free lakeside entertainment by local musicians suitable for all ages on Thursday, March 21 at 6 p.m. For more information, visit or call 782-2890. Spring Youth Intersession Camps Tumbleweed Recreation Center and the Environmental Education Center offer spring youth intersession camps March 11-15 and 18-22 for boys and girls ages 7-12. There are half-day and full-day sports and arts camps. Register at or call 782-2900 or 782-2890 for more information. Parent & Toddler Activities Every Tuesday and Thursday from 9-11 a.m., the Tumbleweed Recreation Center host “Tumble Tots” indoor activities designed for children five years of age and under to play under parental or guardian supervision. This fun, safe and clean area provides a variety of toys, equipment and activities that are sure to keep the kids entertained. There is a maximum of four children per adult. Fee included in all TRC family passes. Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9-11 a.m. There is a $2 fee ($3 non-resident) per child. Call 782-2900 for more information. Teen Lounge Nights Teen Lounge Nights at the Chandler Senior Center are a great way for teens to get to know other teens and have an awesome time for free! Participants will play the Wii, Xbox, and PS3; make crafts, watch movies, play pool and all sorts of other fun games. Drop in and make the most out of your Thursday nights from 5-8 p.m. This is a drop-in program; no registration is needed. You can find the class information at or call 782-2727 with any questions. Stay Connected Follow us on Twitter (@ChandlerRec) and Facebook (Chandler Recreation) for the latest news. Check out the January/February episode of the “Come Out & Play, Chandler!” show featuring the Chandler Center for the Arts events and programs. It is now being aired on Channel 11 and on the Chandler Recreation YouTube Channel. You can sign up for the monthly newsletter at For more information, call 782-2727.

Santan Sun News 2-16-13 Youth

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