Elberfeld's Katye Clutter is gearing up to have her third boy in a row in a few weeks, while at the same time, preparing for the fourth annual Winning The Fight 4 Spina Bifida fundraiser, also known as the "Wild, Wild, Westyn," in honor of her son, who has a birth defect.
The fundraiser will be held at the Kiwanis Park in Elberfeld on Saturday, Aug. 12, with all proceeds going towards purchasing and installing an accessible playground at the park.
Katye is currently mom to son Westyn, 4, Jentry, 11 months, and Korbyn, who is due in just a few short weeks. Back in 2013, when Clutter was still pregnant with Westyn, she found out he had spina bifida, a neural tube defect that occurs during the first month of pregnancy when the spinal column doesn't close completely.
"At first, it was devastating," Clutter said, "finding out something is wrong with your child."
After Westyn was born, he was rushed to the neonatal intensive care unit at Riley's Hospital for Children.
Clutter said this was where she and her family first found out about the Spina Bifida Association of Indiana or SPAIN, a non profit organization dedicated to developing a happier and healthier journey from childhood to adulthood for those living with spina bifida and their families, as well as the prevention of spina bifida.
After learning about SPAIN, Clutter and her family knew they had to be a part of it. They created the Wild Wild Westyn team in 2013 and participated in SPAIN's annual Walk-N-Roll event, a non-competitive 1-mile walk and education resource fair. With the help of their family and friends, the Wild Wild Westyn team raised $2,815 for SPAIN.
But Clutter still wasn't satisfied. She felt like they could raise the bar by creating their own fundraiser and that is how the Fight 4 Spina Bifida Fundraiser was born.
"We began this fundraiser to educate people about spina bifida and raise money for other children to live a normal healthy life like Westyn," Clutter said. "We have been blessed in so many ways."
Clutter said over the past three years, they have raised over $50,000.
"This year we hope to raise $20,000," she said. "We would like to start out the playground project with at least $40,000 in combination to last year's total."
Clutter said if anyone would like to volunteer they can contact them on Facebook at Winning The Fight 4 SB.
"We would be happy to sign them up! Of course donations are always needed," she said. "Donations can be mailed to Elberfeld Kiwanis. Write checks out to "Wild Wild Westyn Team Fundraiser."
Clutter said the first year, all of their proceeds were donated to the Spina Bifida Association of Indiana. The second year, they donated $5,000 to the Hadi Transportation fund, in addition to donating to SBAIN. Last year's proceeds and this year's proceeds will go towards an all inclusive playground at Elberfeld Kiwanis Park.
Clutter said having an accessible playground would do a world of good for a lot of children in the community.
"I think for for the town of Elberfeld to have an accessible playground," she said, "it would mean that all of our kids will be able to learn and play with each other equally."
Clutter said she wants to give her gratitude to the volunteers who help make the fundraiser successful each year.
"I just want to thank everyone involved with this fundraiser year after year, rain or shine," she said. "I cannot express how much appreciation I have for each and every one of them."
Clutter said her son Westyn, who uses a wheelchair and a walker, has been a great inspiration to their entire family.
"Nothing gets in his way. He is just a normal 4-year-old," she said. "Westyn has been labeled as having a disability, but
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he can do anything anyone can do, it might take him longer and he might have to go about it in a different way, but he is proof that you can do anything you put your mind to."
The entry fee for The Fight 4 Spina Bifida fundraiser is $5. There will be kids activities from 3 to 6 p.m., a beer garden from 3 p.m. to 1 a.m., bull riding from 4 to 11 p.m., a live charity auction at 5 p.m., a performance by Jason Clutter at 8 p.m. and a performance by Jesse Keith Whitley at 10 p.m. Elberfeld Kiwanis Park is located at 190 1st Street, Elberfeld, Ind.