BARSTOW • The Babies So Special Five-Mile Walk-A-Thon is set to take place Saturday, and Mayor Julie Hackbarth-McIntyre will be in attendance to kick off the event at noon.
The walk-a-thon will begin at Barstow High School and is dedicated to families that have disabled children.
Barstow resident Cathy Williams co-founded Babies So Special, a nonprofit organization, to assist families of disabled children. Williams is the mother of 7-year-old Caleb Lucas, a boy who needs a heart transplant and has endured more than 50 surgeries, including nine open-heart surgeries.
"I've known (Williams) for a long time," Hackbarth-McIntyre said. "I've just known her and watched her son go through numerous, numerous surgeries. She's just one lady who wants to help others, as well as her own son. She sees the other people that have to struggle with kids with disabilities."
Local pastor John Prea also will be in attendance, along with representatives from the student body of Barstow Junior High and Barstow High schools.
"It's to raise heart awareness because February is Heart Awareness Month," Williams said. "Heart defects are the No. 1 birth defect. One out of a hundred babies is born with a heart anomaly."
Williams is taking care of Caleb full time, as his hypoplastic-left heart syndrome makes him unable to go to school because of health risks.
"Why I started Babies So Special is because when I had Caleb, I recognized the needs a family has when you have a disabled child," Williams said.
Organizers are asking for a $25 donation from adults. Children with a minimum donation of $10 get a free T-shirt.
For more information, visit www.babiessospecial.org.