One family's new tradition raises a significant amount of money for a noted Southeast nonprofit

DAVID F. ASHTON - Richard and Tatyana Sundvall walk into Sellwood Park with Arina Zhibar, at the end of their Dawn to Dusk Walk for Dougy. Arina is Tatyanas niece, visiting from Russia, who was orphaned two years ago - part of the reason for the Sundvalls fundraising walk. For the third year in a row, Richard and Tatyana Sundvall embarked on a charity walk of 40 miles, visiting 16 Portland Parks along the way on June 20, to raise money for the nonprofit, internationally renowned, "Dougy Center" – located in the Creston-Kenilworth neighborhood, on S.E. 52nd, just south of Foster Road.

"Our 'Dawn to Dusk Walk', on the longest day of the year, is symbolic for those grieving the loss of a loved one – which truly can be one of the longest days of anyone's life," explained Tatyana. "Helping the Dougy Center gives us satisfaction like we've never felt before, and helped me with my own healing from loss."

With a GPS on their smart phone tracking the journey, the couple headed out at dawn, at 5:35 a.m. near Portland State University, and hiked north, stopping for breakfast in Columbia Park on the crest overlooking Swan Island.

They stopped for lunch in Grant Park near the Hollywood District; and took a supper break at Woodstock Park, before visiting Reed College, Westmoreland Park, and Johnson Creek Park. The final leg of their daylong walk took the Sundvalls through old Sellwood, to their destination at sunset in Sellwood Park on S.E. 7th Avenue.

Accompanied by an entourage, two of whom had walked the entire route with them, they arrived in the park at 9:00 p.m. – exactly two minutes before sunset on the longest day of the year.

"After doing this twice, we're totally optimized now; we've got it down – like using three different pair of shoes, and four pairs of socks – and our supporters all give us so much help, making it really easy for us, except for the walking," Richard smiled.

The couple again had gathered pledges for their long stroll, this year totaling about $12,000, to benefit The Dougy Center.

"Raising funds is good; but for us, increasing awareness about their work is the number one thing, more important than money," Tatyana said.

"You know, Portland doesn't celebrate the summer solstice," Richard mused. "We're hereby claiming summer solstice on behalf of The Dougy Center; inviting everyone to come out and explore our city for a day, while supporting a great cause that helps some of our most vulnerable people."

After a Champagne toast, the couple and their supporters were chauffeured into Westmoreland, for desserts at Papa Haydn's, and then they went on home to relax.

"We invite and encourage people to come out next year, on June 21, 2018, and spend at least part of the day walking with us," Richard grinned.

Tatyana chimed in, "It's not rocket science, it's just walking; anyone can do it. Why sit on the couch? Just come out and join your community, and do something for yourself and others!"

Learn more about The Dougy Center by visiting their website:

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