DILLSBURG, YORK COUNTY, Pa. -- Today marked the 2nd Annual Party in the Park in York County. Beauty after Bruises sponsored the event, a day meant for fun and raising awareness and money for a serious mental illness.
It was a day of fun at Logan Park in Dillsburg, but there's a greater message to the event: It's about understanding Complex PTSD and raising funds for treatment for survivors.
Making a splash and bouncing along to raise awareness and money for Complex PTSD and Disassociative Identity Disorder (DID).
So survivors of the illnesses can afford treatment, like Kristie McKonly, who says having fun is like therapy for the soul.
"I know for someone like me who is a survivor whose childhood was not that great, watching kids have fun unabashedly is so fun. It's so healing to be like, 'they're having so much fun,'" said McKonly.
She not only watched children play but got in on the fun and games.
"I decided to up the ante and race them in my wheelchair, and I kinda smoked the competition, but I may of cheated a little bit, of course. That made it more fun," said McKonly.
People with Complex PTSD and DID have experienced long term, prolonged traumas, usually during childhood.
"They spent their entire childhood understanding that what is safe is not what you and I know to be safe and love is not what you and I know to be love," said Kim McKonly, an organizer with Beauty After Bruises.
What's most important is treatment, which Kim says can be expensive.
"When you don't have the money, and you're tired, and you don't have the resources, and you don't have family support, too many of them just give up, and that's not acceptable," she said.
That's how Beauty After Bruises came to be; it's an organization run entirely by volunteers. Events, like Party in the Park, help with treatment costs. The organization hopes to raise $100,000 for survivors to get treatment, all while spreading awareness and, of course, cheer.
"We figure if we put it together, and we raise funds while having fun, you can't lose," said Kim McKonly.
The fun today could easily raise $10,000, according to organizers.