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Now browsing: Hometown News > News > Brevard County

Turtle Splash to benefit children with special needs
Rating: -1 / 5 (2 votes)  
Posted: 2014 May 02 - 06:34

By Chris Fish

Staff writer

MELBOURNE BEACH -- For the 10th consecutive year, thousands of rubber sea turtles, dropped into a closed course in the Indian River Lagoon, will race to the finish line, as part of this year's Melbourne Beach Founders Day.

The 10th annual Turtle Splash will take place at Ryckman Park on Ocean Avenue in Melbourne Beach at 3 p.m. Saturday, May 3.

"The idea is quite simple," said Melbourne Beach resident Kristen Malfara, who created the event. "People everywhere can adopt our cute, little numbered plastic turtles in advance or at the event. They will 'splash' their way through our Noodle course to the finish line."

Mrs. Malfara said that the "adoptive" parents of the turtle that crosses the finish line first will win a grand prize of a seven-day Holland America Cruise for two.

Other prizes for top finishers include airline tickets, hotel stays, attraction tickets, bikes and jewelry, Ms. Malfara said.

Every dollar raised during Turtle Splash will be donated to the M.O.R.G.A.N. Project, which stands for Making Opportunities Reality Granting Assistance Nationwide.

Mrs. Malfara and her husband, Robert, created the nonprofit organization in 2001 in honor of their son, Morgan, who, as an infant, was diagnosed with leukodystrophy, a rare disease that causes degeneration of the white matter of the brain.

"The M.O.R.G.A.N. Project always puts the 'fun' in our fundraising activities and always encourages families with children to take part," Mrs. Malfara said. "This is our major annual fundraising event, and the proceeds go to our all-volunteer, quality-of-life support programs that we administer, including Morgan's Place, our one-of-a-kind, wireless therapeutic play center for children with special needs."

Turtle adoptions are priced at $5. For five turtles, the price is $20, or individuals can purchase 13 turtles for $50 or 20 turtles for $75.

"This is an all-day family-fun event, with something for every member of the family," Mrs. Malfara said. "Our Turtle Splash is just one component of the Founders Day celebration, and our organization also organizes and runs the Children's Activity Center with an inflatable, giant water slide, slip and slide, bounce house and obstacle course."

Mrs. Malfara said a $5 adoption fee also includes a wristband that allows children to play in the activities center all day during the Founders Day event.

Mrs. Malfara said she is looking for volunteers to help with the event.

The 10th annual Turtle Splash will take place at Ryckman Park on Ocean Avenue in Melbourne Beach at 3 p.m. Saturday, May 3.

Founders Day activities begin at 7:30 a.m. with the Bulldog Pineapple Run and end at 10 p.m. with a street party.

To adopt a turtle, visit www.turtlesplash.org or do so at the event.

To learn more about The M.O.R.G.A.N. Project and Morgan's Place, visit www.themorganproject.org or call (321) 506-2707.

For more information about Melbourne Beach Founders Day and a schedule of events, visit www.melbournebeachfl.org.

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