Rain Can’t Stop the Giving Heart
Local nonprofit organization, Stand Among Friends, held its second annual emb(race) event this past Sunday on Florida Atlantic University’s campus in Boca Raton. Founded in 1997 Stand Among Friends (SAF) provides career and employment assistance for the disabled community, allowing them to live an independent and fulfilling life. SAF Founder Shawn Friedkin started the nonprofit after suffering a horrific accident in which he became paralyzed and wheelchair bound at 28 years old, discovering there were very few resources for people in his situation.
Now many years later, the organization is able to provide services to over 600 disabled locals annually thanks to fundraising efforts like the emb(race) event, their biggest of the year. This year’s event saw a crowd of over 1,500 which included well-known dignitaries such as US Congressmen Allen West and Ted Deutch, Boca Raton City Council Member Constance Scott, Vice Mayor of Boca Raton Susan Haynie, FAU President MJ Saunders, and some local famous faces- Christine Lynn, NBC Channel 5’s Keli Fulton, FOX 29’s Rachel Leigh, and Olympic Gold Medalist Boxer Howard Davis Jr.
Over 1,000 attendees ran, walked, strolled, or rolled in wheelchairs and hand-cycles in one or more of the day’s events, which included a 10K, 5K and one mile family fun walk. Touted as the ‘all inclusive’ race, the emb(race) event welcomed those with any type of disability.
A little rain and windy weather didn’t stop more than 200 volunteers from showing up before sunrise to help kickoff the event. Over 135,000 dollars was raised, far exceeding the organization’s monetary goal and nearly doubling last year’s amount of 72,000 dollars. The organization recognized Rob Coffino of Inifinty Sales Group, who singlehandedly raised almost twelve thousand dollars by recruiting a team of 122 people.