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Annual ‘A Mile for Maddie’ walk celebrates girl’s love for art and the ocean

The event will raise funds for the Dana Point Ocean Institute and will feature Wyland as its celebrity chair

By Elaine MurphyPublished: March 02, 2012 12:05 PM

The Maddie James Foundation will hold its second annual A Mile for Maddie walk to honor Maddie James and her love for art and the ocean.

Proceeds will benefit The Maddie James Seaside Learning Center at Dana Point’s Ocean Institute. Last year’s walk attracted more than 1,000 participants and raised funds to start construction of the center, which will educate children about the ocean environment when it opens later this year.  

Five-year-old Maddie died in March 2011 from an inoperable brain tumor. Her passion for the sea inspired her family to raise $1 million to fund the Ocean Institute’s expansion, including the learning center. The James family reached their goal last May, acquiring the money through donations in less than 4 months.

The event’s celebrity chair, local artist Wyland, will host a dinner on June 7 for the top fundraisers. Every $500 raised merits one ticket to the dinner, and the overall top fundraiser will receive a Wyland painting.

“Maddie’s two greatest loves were the ocean and art. Teaming with the Wyland Foundation to educate children who have little exposure to the ocean is an important step toward increasing ocean conservation awareness in youth,” said Kajsa James, Maddie’s mother and President of The Maddie James Foundation.

Held on May 19 at 8 a.m., the walk will begin at Strand Vista Park in Dana Point and end at the Ocean Institute for an open house at The Maddie James Seaside Learning Center. Visit amileformaddie.com to register. Registrants will receive a t-shirt printed with a Wyland drawing.

The walk is part of May is for Maddie, a monthlong campaign by The Maddie James Foundation and Wyland Foundation that will send the Wyland Clean Water Mobile Learning Center to seven underserved schools in Southern California, encouraging children to learn about marine conservation.

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