PEORIA -- A Peoria organization is taking action for sick kids. T.O.U.C.H. (The Organization For Understanding Children's Hearts) is a group that helps families with children who suffer from congenital heart disease.
Today it's celebrating its 26th annual family picnic at Wildlife Prarie Park, which brings out hundreds of people, all experiencing many of the same feelings.
Coordinator Gail Eaton said it's about building relationships and one thing, most importantly. "It lets parents realize they're not alone and the cool thing is it lets kids realize they're not alone. Particularly, as they start to grow up and get into the teen years," she said.
That's just one of the reasons why the Raycraft family is here.
Mother Andrea Raycraft said, "It's a fun day to come out and not think about any of the problems these children might have, it's just an escape for everybody."
This family is one of thousands that depend on the Children's Hospital of Illinois for treatment, and the organization T.O.U.C.H. for support. Their five-year-old son Will was born without the left side of his heart.
Raycraft said, "He's had four open heart surgeries to re-pipe the heart to make it work for him."
It's here the Kindergarten student can play and enjoy his day with hundreds of other kids just like him.
But it's not just the families that are happy to be here.
Eaton said today is her favorite day of the year. "When I look back into my memory and I know how they've struggled and then to see them here running, jumping and playing... there's really no words for it. It's just a great day."
The picnic is a free event, made possible through the Children's Hospital of Illinois.