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Local youth continues to raise funds for penguins

SIMSBURY – Fourth-grader Lucas Raymond has participated in 5Ks since he was five years old and he isn’t letting the pandemic slow his efforts to run for the benefit of penguins.

Like most other major events, Mystic Aquarium’s Run, Walk or Waddle for the Penguins was modified for 2020, but Raymond participated virtually for a cause he believes in.

“The African Penguins are endangered so I want to help them,” said Raymond, a resident of Simsbury and student at Squadron Line.

On his fundraising page, he elaborated, “Mystic Aquarium is helping the penguins through research and sends people to Africa to help keep their habitat down there safe for the wild penguins. They also help care for penguins that might be injured or sick. Please help me raise money so Mystic Aquarium can keep helping the penguins survive.”

Lucas has family that lives near the aquarium and the trips there have helped propel a dream to be a marine biologist. He especially loves penguins and has participated in this race for the past few years.

Of course, it’s normally a festive affair that incorporates aquarium activities, but on the bright side, Lucas has surpassed the $550 he raised last year.

He recently completed a “virtual, ” but very real 5K – with a time of 34:10 – with his 16-year-old brother Andrew, also an avid runner and member of the Simsbury High School Cross Country team.

In addition, Lucas has been collecting returnable cans and selling homemade penguin shaped dog biscuits, with ingredients donated by Cake Gypsy, to help the effort.

“My husband [Mark] and I have always tried to encourage our kids to give back and help others whenever possible, even the feathered ones, so we are proud of Lucas,” said his mom Denise Raymond. “He has found a wonderful cause that he is passionate about and I love watching him come up with the ideas of how he can raise money to help and then putting them into action.”

The public can also help the effort through Oct. 10 via

– John Fitts


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