It’s been 8 years since Valerie and Tim Byers learned that their young son had Sanfilippo Syndrome. Since then, they have … Among their amazing annual fundraising efforts is leading the WILLPower marathon and fundraising team during the annual The Woodlands Marathon. In last week’s 2023 The Woodlands Marathon, the WILLPower team once again took a first-place finish the marathon Charity Challenge, raising nearly $50,000.
The Byers family has running in their blood, each one of them loving to run, including 12-year-old Will, who has Sanfilippo Syndrome Type B. So taking on The Woodlands Marathon and using it as an annual opportunity to also raise awareness of and fundraise for Sanfilippo makes perfect sense for the Byers.
“We throw ourselves into raising awareness and funds, combatting this disease the best way we can. Keeping our minds busy from the inevitable,” said the family in a Facebook post to supporters after the race. “And you help us. You wear purple and donate and run races and share our story and love our family. You keep us strong when we begin to feel overwhelmed. Your support buoys us every day, but most especially today. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for all your support this past week and every day.”
This year, Team WILLPower again won The Woodlands Marathon Charity Challenge. The team collectively raised $40,732, and as the first-place Charity Challenge team, they earned an $8,250 charity prize bonus that will help fund the mission of Cure Sanfilippo Foundation.
The family also participated in the 2023 The Woodlands Marathon races. Valerie once again laced up for the half marathon. Will and his dad Tim completed the 5K Kids Fun Run with other WILLPower Team members. And Will’s younger sister Samantha was commander of the WILL Power Cheer Tent along the marathon route, inspiring the runners to keep going.
Why do the Byers do this and many other fundraising events each year? Valerie explained in a recent Facebook post.
Every dollar matters in rare disease research, so these funds will make a big impact. YOU made a big impact. You made not only Will a winner, but every child living with this disease a winner by supporting our goals of treatment development.