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Race car fund-raiser helps kids

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By Teresa Herriman

The Courier-Herald

An estimated 130 children and their parents stopped by Bonney Lake Kid's Country last week to see a real race car and meet a real race-car driver. The event kicked off a Families Helping Families fund-raiser to gather pledges for Team Seattle and their quest to raise money for Children's Hospital and Regional Medical Center during a grueling 24-hour race in Daytona, Fla.

Kid's Country has set a company-wide goal to raise $35,000.

"It's an opportunity for us to do something and give something back," Perry Langston said. He and his wife, Lynnda, and their sons own 11 Kid's Country Centers in the area.

"What a better mix than children and Children's Hospital?"

One of the benefits of the program, according to Langston, is all the money raised goes directly to the Children's Hospital.

"Every single dime," he said.

Sponsors put up the money for the car and the drivers, paying for all expenses.

Scheduled for Feb. 5 and 6, the 43rd annual Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona is the most famous sports car endurance event in the nation.

The Langstons got involved in the project through their friendship with Chris Pallis, a local developer who owns a Kid's Country Center in Maple Valley. He also happens to be one of the Team Seattle drivers and a major force behind the fund-raising effort.

To encourage participation, the Langstons are offering several prizes to the parents with the most pledges, including a $3,000 child-care credit at the center.

"We feel pretty strongly about this," Langston explained. "If we're going to go out and ask our parents, we should step up."

The Langstons founded the first Kid's Country Center in 1988 in Burien. They opened the Bonney Lake center at its current location Oct. 31, 2002. The center was located in the Safeway shopping center for 11 years previous to moving to the Albertson's shopping center.

Teresa Herriman can be reached at therriman@courierherald.com.

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