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One couple's celebration of summer has turned into a significant fundraiser for one nonprofit

DAVID F. ASHTON - After their final lap around their destination - the Sellwood Park baseball diamond -- Richard and Tatyana Sundvall checked their time walked, and their distance. They walked 42 miles, and it took all day. It started with a dare several years ago – one made by Brent Sundvall to his brother Richard – to walk across Portland from sunrise to sunset on the Summer Solstice: The first day of summer.

Richard, accompanied by his wife Tatyana Sundvall, took that fitness challenge and turned it into an awareness and fundraising opportunity in support of the nonprofit Dougy Center for Grieving Children and Families, on S.E. 52nd Avenue, just south of Foster Road, in the Creston-Kenilworth neighborhood.

For the fourth consecutive year, the couple toured Portland on foot on June 21, in what they call their "Dawn to Dusk for Dougy" hike.

"The Dawn to Dusk walk is symbolic, for those grieving; losing a loved one can seem like the longest day of anyone's life," explained Tatyana. "Having suffered through losses in our own lives, we love the work The Dougy Center does."

Starting out at sunrise downtown near Portland State University, the couple dodged raindrops as a major thunderstorm rolled unexpectedly into the area. "We were really worried about the storm, but fortunately it went south as we were heading to North Portland," Richard recalled.

Along the way, some walkers joined the Sundvalls for a segment of the hike, as they made their way through various city parks – this year including Mt. Tabor, on their journey south, which once again ended in Sellwood Park at dusk.

Arriving two minutes before sunset, the couple and their friends walked laps around the park's north-end baseball diamond.

"It was a wonderful and very special day for us," Tatyana remarked, as friends greeted them with a Champaigne toast.

Good walking shoes and temperatures in the 60s helped them make the 42-mile hike, Richard said. "This is, truly, the happiest day of the year for me," he told THE BEE.

Although the long walk hadn't originally been intended as a fundraiser, their Dawn-to-Dusk walk has by now raised more than $32,000 for The Dougy Center.

"For our fifth anniversary walk, we're hoping to recruit sponsors, and encourage walking groups to join us in this annual adventure," Richard grinned.

To find out more about The Dougy Center, go online – www.dougy.org

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