BLADENBORO — If the sunshine wasn’t enough on Saturday, then the nearly day-long smile on 5-year-old Ayven Lennon’s face certainly brightened the Kid’s Fun Day at the Bladenboro Historical Building grounds.
Hundreds of people turned out for a fundraiser put on to help pay costs associated with Ayven’s battle against lymphoma and leukemia.
Dressed in a bright orange baseball cap and a white T-shirt that included “Ayven’s Prayer” on the back, the youngster, who was often seen holding hands with his mother, seemed to be absorbing the energy of the people and activities around him to fuel his always present smile.
“All of this is awesome,” said Misty Lennon, Ayven’s mom. “God has really blessed us with awesome friends and family.
Misty Lennon said she never would have thought her family would need this kind of help, or that they would receive such help.
“Bladenboro is a town that pulls together,” he said. “But I never thought they would do this for us. And I’m not used to being on this end of it — I’m more comfortable being part of the group that helps others.”
The day started with an opening prayer that attracted more than 100 people. From there, a trio of bounce houses stayed busy with children climbing, crawling and sliding; two face-painting stations kept kids of all ages — including Bladen County Commissioner Charles Ray Peterson — in the seats getting bright-colored items drawn on their cheeks; food and beverage spots remained busy; a dunking booth, gun raffle, firehouse activity spot and a train ride all kept the money flowing. The day also included a variety of local singers on the stage.
Later in the day, a chicken- and pork-plate sale, along with a cake sale and live auction, continued to draw the crowd in.
“I’m not really surprised by all the caring being shown here.” said Joyce Walters, one of the event’s organizers. “People coming together is good to see and they’ve all been really generous.
“When folks here know someone is in trouble, they want to help,” she added.
Saturday evening brought the Bladenboro-based, award-winning, internationally renowned gospel group The Dove Brothers to Galeed Baptist Church for a benefit concert that featured a love offering for Ayden.
According to Walters, all of the money raised on Saturday will go toward medical and travel expenses for Ayden and his family. His parents are Misty and Toby Lennon, and he has a sister Millie.
Folks can still donate to the Lennon family by going to their GoFundMe page at www.gofundme.com/w6hexc.
— W. Curt Vincent can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.