Detroit Winter Blast to raise money for children of Flint

The annual Meridian Winter Blast in downtown Detroit next month has now been turned into a massive fundraiser for the children of Flint.

The goal for the event, which runs from Feb. 12 to 14, is to raise at least $80,000.

"This is a community that has felt neglected for almost two years and now we have so much support," said Dr. Mona Hannah-Attisha. "Thank you."

Attisha - the pediatrician in Flint whose exhaustive research exposed lead poisoning in Flint's children, is now bringing her message to Detroit.

"We don't need any more water," she said. "We can't even handle the water that we have. We need to invest in the kids."

So many Detroiters already committed to helping Flint through its water crisis. Now Detroit's Meridian Winter Blast is getting in on the effort.

And it all starts with a $20,000 donation. They will be collecting much more with a match from Meridian Health Plan, hoping to raise $80,000 for the Flint Child Health and Development fund through donations to Sing, Skate and Slide for Flint at Winterblast.

"This is a population level exposure," Attisha said. "Every child who drank or cooked with this water was potentially exposed and thus is at risk for consequences."

Lead is a neurotoxin  which impacts thinking, drops IQ, impacts behavior and Attisha says - there's no way to know how bad it is, how many children have been impacted.

"Testing for lead right now isn't going to tell you what your lead level was a year, year and half ago when this was at its worst," Attisha said. "This has been an exposure since April of 2014, until today."

Children age zero to 6 years old are most at risk - about 9,000 to 10,000 children who will be helped by the efforts of Attisha and her team.

"This is our investment in children," Attisha said. "To support those interventions such as the early literacy programs and the educational services and the behavioral health services and the nutrition services.

"Because it is these things that will limit the impact of the exposure."

So how can you help? By donating to or come down to the Winter Blast at Sing, Skate or Slide. Lot of concerts, lots of skating and the huge slide.

A lot of fun for a good cause.

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