Lilburn race to benefit local developmentally disabled adults

LILBURN -- St. Mary's Independent Living Extensions is a nonprofit that works with developmentally disabled adults, age 21 and older, as well as their family members and care providers to ensure all of their needs are met.

To raise funds for the Lilburn center, St. John Neumann Catholic Church is hosting the third annual SMILE 5K and one-mile fun run Saturday.

For the first time, the fundraiser is going to be held at Lilburn City Park, and race organizers are excited about the change.

"The first two races were on the streets around the church. Now that we have the park, we anticipate more participation, especially for those who have mobility issues," said W. Leo Payne, race committee chairman. "The city streets were somewhat hilly and difficult for some people, but the park provides a flatter and faster course."

The fun walk, which is opened to walkers, wheelchairs and parents with strollers, starts at 8 a.m. The 5K begins at 8:30 a.m.

Besides the races, there will be live music performed by Good Sam and a fitness area for Zumba.

"Many people don't realize how hard it is for people with developmental disabilities to get the help they need once they reach adulthood," Payne said. "We hear about charities for children with disabilities, but adults with disabilities seem to be forgotten. The people at SMILE work so hard and are extremely dedicated. Paul Pieper, executive director, and his entire SMILE office staff also participate in the race 100 percent."

Races prices range from $15 to $20, depending on the race. Registration for a family of four or more is available for $50 by Wednesday.

To register, visit www.active.com or www.sjnlilburn.com.

All of the proceeds benefit SMILE.