Fundraiser to round up caring hearts

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photoDetra Swenson Diagnosed with hemiplegic cerebral palsy at the age of 18 months

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Detra Swenson will be the guest of honor at Innovative Services NW's Caring Heart Round-up, a fundraising buffet and dance with a Western theme.

Swenson, who grew up severely disabled, worked at Innovative for 30 years and was a "beacon of hope" for parents and kids, according to a statement.

Innovative Services is a multifaceted nonprofit agency that caters to people of all ages who have disabilities and other challenges — providing early intervention for children, helping adults find and keep meaningful work, guiding foster youth and providing day care for children and adults who need it.

Tickets for the event are $75 each. It's set for 6 p.m. March 29 at the Hilton Vancouver Washington, 301 W. Sixth St. Visit www.innovativeservicesnw.org or call Laurie Giacomini at 360-823-5170 by March 26 to make reservations.

Swenson was diagnosed with hemiplegic cerebral palsy at the age of 18 months, but she credits a therapy center in her Texas hometown with helping her thrive and succeed. She went to work for Innovative in 1982 and became an early intervention specialist with the pediatric therapy program. She led preschool classes, helped integrate children with special needs and was an inspiration to "parents who wondered how far their children with developmental disabilities might progress," according to Innovative.

Swenson retired in 2012. Innovative estimates that she touched the lives of more than 3,000 children through her work.