Chris Heel, third from right, helps get the 2018 Sea of Blue Autism Awareness 5K race going in Northeast Harbor. Heel founded and organizes the event, which is now in its seventh year. Also at the starting line are Laura Anderson and her dog Buckwheat, who is the two-time dog champion of the race.  ISLANDER PHOTO BY DICK BROOM 

Sea of Blue donates funds despite canceling its race 

NORTHEAST HARBOREven though the annual Sea of Blue Autism Awareness 5K run and walk was canceled this year, organizers are not letting that stop them from raising funds for the Autism Society of Maine.  

The fundraising was a little different this year, said Susan Heel, whose son Chris started the race in 2014 as part of his Senior Exhibition project at Mount Desert Island High School. Donations this year did not come from event sponsorships and participant registration, but from two long-standing business donors who have continued to support the event since inception: Curtis Shoe and Darling’s. Heel said that Sea of Blue waited as long as it could before canceling its April event, but ultimately had to make the difficult decision.  

This year, as part of Giving Tuesday, and thanks to Curtis Shoe and Darling’s, Sea of Blue was able to donate $4,000 to the Autism Society of Maine, said Heel. 

The race, in what would have been its sixth year, has raised approximately $40,000 to date for Downeast Horizons, Special Children’s Friends and the Autism Society of Maine.  

The 2021 race is scheduled to take place on April 24.  

Faith DeAmbrose

Faith DeAmbrose

Managing Editor at Mount Desert Islander
Faith DeAmbrose

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