By JEFFREY CULLEN-DEAN|Nov. 01, 2019 – 10:46 PM

A group of Coweta students are participating in the Make-A-Wish Foundation’s Trailblaze Challenge to help raise money for the organization.

For the challenge, the students will hike the 35 miles of the Bartram Trail in Georgia over two days, on Nov. 16 and 17.

The 14 students taking on the challenge are a part of SEAK – Service, Education and Adventure Klub.

“Our goal and our mission is to have the students learn elements of leadership through experiential outdoor adventure and service projects,” said Julie Pruett, co-leader of SEAK. “We do outdoor skills training so the students can learn how to go on a backpacking trip. We’ll teach them how to build a cooking fire, pack their backpacks, filter water and build a shelter.”

“The whole purpose of the challenge is for people to raise awareness, money and support for children to be blessed with a dream come true,” said Ann Marie Brezina, SEAK’s co-leader.

As part of the challenge, the students are seeking sponsors for donations, Brezina said. All of the proceeds will go to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Pruett said she hopes the challenge will help the students understand what life is like with a critical illness.

“We’re hoping this journey for them is going to mimic the journey of the children who are battling these life-threatening illnesses,” she said.

Danae Bates, a member of SEAK taking part in the challenge, agreed with Pruett and said the difficulty of the hike would give her and her teammates an understanding of daily life with a major illness.

“When you’re hiking, there’s a point where you don’t want to go on. It’s really painful to hike that far,” she said. “It kind of gives you an example of what these kids go through every day.”

Jackson and Anne Williams, members of SEAK, said they are participating in the challenge because they wanted to help children with life-threatening illnesses.

“I thought it would be a good opportunity to challenge myself and raise awareness and money for Make-A-Wish Georgia,” Jackson Williams said.

“It’s a cool opportunity to give back,” Anne Williams said.

Brezina said the Make-A-Wish Foundation is close to her family. They have been a recipient of one of the foundation’s grants. Her daughter is a cancer survivor and had a malignant brain tumor.

“It’s very personal to myself and my family,” she said.

Pruett said the group’s fundraising goal is $5,000, and they are 42 percent of the way there.

“All of these teenagers are raising money. They are finding sponsors to sponsor them on their own,” Brezina said. “We’re really excited about the team coming along and making a difference in other children’s’ lives.” To contribute to SEAK’s fundraising, go to http://site.wish.org/goto/SEAK .