Virginia Beach, Va. (WAVY) - The 8th annual Surfers Healing event was held in Virginia Beach Saturday to help children living with Autism.
The Virginia Beach surf welcomed more than 225 children and all of them were Autistic . Lily Olsen didn't let the rain stop her from catching a wave. It's something her mother, Felisa Strickland, loves to see.
"She doesn't really talk, so I don't really know what she's thinking, but she looks like she's having fun."
The Surfers Healing event is bittersweet for Lily and her mom.
"The first year she was part of Surfers Healing her dad went into a coma from melanoma. Two days prior to she surfed and then he passed away two days after, so every year it's like a special thing for us to come out here and remember him and she's out there surfing for her daddy," says Felisa.
It's the healing powers of the water volunteers hope the children feel.
"It really does something for the kids that I think is just wonderful," says Duane Webster.
Webster was a pro-surfer for 20 years before he became a Surfers Healing volunteer.
"That's the biggest reward right there seeing that the kids are just having the time of their life."
Wave after wave, the children of all levels of Autism showed their excitement and joy of just being a kid.
"It's so empowering to be able to see her out there and actually see her doing something that she enjoys that I never in a million years thought she would be able to do," says Felisa.
Maybe the surfers do more than heal the children. Judging by the happiness on all of the parents' faces as well, maybe...just maybe they heal families as well.
"I'm just so grateful that there are things like this and there are people out there that have creative minds and come up with programs like this, so it's awesome," says Felisa.
This is the 8th year for the Surfers Healing event. There was also a Surfers Healing 5-K early Saturday morning at the oceanfront.
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