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Christmas-themed fundraiser aids facility
Event is July 19 at Project Walk
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Forsyth County News

If you’re going

• What: Christmas in July Shop for a Cause fundraiser

• When: 7 p.m. July 19

• Where: Project Walk Atlanta, 1755 Grasslands Pkwy.

• For more information, visit

A south Forsyth facility that seeks to help those paralyzed walk again is holding a fundraiser next week.

The nonprofit Project Walk Atlanta will hold Christmas in July Shop for a Cause beginning at 7 p.m. July 19.

“That’s the time when people want to buy things is for Christmas or getting ready for Christmas, so I just thought, ‘Well maybe I’ll do a [Christmas in July]’ and the profits can go to Project Walk to help people,” owner Jeannie Pickard said.

Project Walk Atlanta, on Grasslands Parkway, opened in April after the Pickard family spent several months planning.

The family opened the facility to help son Chris, who became a quadriplegic after an automobile accident in May 2011, just two weeks shy of his graduation from Lambert High School.

He traveled to California to take part in Project Walk, an intense, exercise-based program that employs the Dardzinski Method, which seeks to reactivate the body’s nervous system, initiate muscle contractions and improve movement.

Chris Pickard intended in stay in the California facility for six months, but after just seven weeks became homesick.

That’s when the family made the decision to open the only Project Walk facility in Georgia.

Since then, it has grown to help several others, Jeannie Pickard said.

“We’ve got about eight to 10 clients a week and most of them are from … here,” she said. “We do have a guy from Greenville, S.C., and then [an 11-year-old girl] from Tennessee and a lady coming in from Indiana. But other than that, they’re all from the Atlanta area.”

Pickard said funds raised from the Christmas in July event will go toward Project Walk client families.

“It could be therapy or lodging, really just anything they need help with,” she said.

She said she’s hoping for at least 100 people at the event, which will feature a range of gift items such as candles, jewelry, home accessories and art.

Light refreshments will also be served and tours of the facility will be available.

“We’re hoping people will invite their friends and pass along the fliers and e-mails to ensure we get at least 100 people,” she said. “It’s a drop by, so people can come by right at 7 or any time. I’m sure I’ll be there late.”

Pickard said her son and other clients at the facility continue to make improvement and that’s why fundraising for the center is so important.

“Chris is getting a lot stronger,” she said. “Right after his accident, he could only lift like a 4-pound or 7-pound weight and now he’s bench pressing 155 pounds … he had started moving his fingers and now he’s moving a thumb, so we’re hoping he can get his hands back.

“One client from Dawsonville … he was in a power lift chair and now he wants to be in a manual chair … we’ve got a lot of people that are seeing great progress.”