Power Walkers: The Menuck family – The bELIevers

They walk for love. They walk for hope. They walk for friendship.

They are Friendship Circle’s Power Walkers.

While scores of generous supporters come together for the annual Walk4Friendship, there are some families that walk year after year and go the extra mile to support our organization.

These Power Walkers aren’t celebrities or superstars. They are ordinary people who are doing extraordinary work to help an organization near and dear to their hearts.

Here are their stories:

The Menuck family – The bELIevers

When Lisa Menuck first began participating in the Walk4Friendship many years ago, she knew her efforts made a difference. What she didn’t know then was just how much those efforts would hit home someday.

Lisa and her husband, Mark, first participated many years ago after Lisa was introduced to Bassie Shemtov through her sister-in-law Jill Menuck, who knew Bassie when the Shemtovs were running Friendship Circle out of their basement.

But it wasn’t until after their youngest son, Eli, came along that the walk truly became a family affair, Lisa says.

At just 3 months old, Eli underwent heart surgery. As he grew, developmental delays became apparent and the now-9-year-old boy was diagnosed with autism.

“The Friendship Circle staff sees past the disabilities of all the children and are focused on what they can do and who they are on the inside,” says Lisa, who is also mom to Harrison, 18, and Jessica, 17. “Eli has made friends, attends Hebrew school, is on sports teams and goes to summer camp — things that may otherwise not be offered to him.”

How does one give back to an organization that has given so much to people you love? You walk and walk and walk some more, which is exactly what the Menuck family of Birmingham has done.

Each year since 2013, the family has marched as a team, first as the Menuck Marchers and later as the bELIevers. This will be the fourth year the team will bear that name.

While some faces on the team have changed over the years, there are those who have been there every step of the way, says Lisa. Her brother-in-law’s family, also of Birmingham, has been among their biggest supporters. They include Mark’s twin brother, Craig Menuck, and his wife, Jill, and their three children: Jamie, 19, Miles, 18, and Casie, 14.

And while this year the team dynamic will be a little different with the older Menuck children from both families heading off to college, the family’s resolve to give back remains as strong as ever.

“Friendship Circle has been life changing for my family,” Lisa says. “We have gained so much love and support and met so many incredible people. Having a child with special needs … can be especially lonely and difficult emotionally. The support of an amazing organization behind us makes us feel we are not alone.”

Written by Holly Terpstra

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