More than 400 people ran and hundreds more walked on a perfect day for the sixth Daffodil Dash on Sunday, April 2.

The annual event raises money for Am Yisrael Chai to support the Daffodil Project — an effort to plant 1.5 million daffodils around the world in memory of the 1.5 million children killed in the Holocaust — and to assist anti-genocide and child-welfare programs in South Sudan, Darfur and Rwanda.

For the second consecutive year the 5K run and 1-mile walk began and ended in Liane Levetan Park at Brook Run in Dunwoody, but this time Levetan herself was one of the post-race honorees and helped hand out honors for the day’s best runners (the Patterson family dominated), the top fundraisers (the Marist School as a group with over $3,500, bat mitzvah project participant Hannah Ferrar as an individual) and the organizations with the most participation (Marist with more than 100 runners, followed by the Epstein School).

The post-race speakers, Holocaust survivor Manuela Bornstein and former South Sudan “lost boy” Ngor Kur Mayol, were not Daffodil Dash newcomers, but their experiences are timeless.

Bornstein, 83, is a native of Paris, and she and her parents and sister were still there in July 1942 when the Nazi conquerors launched a roundup of 13,000 people in the city. She said her family was at home, but no one came for them. They escaped to the south of France, where they hid in a small village with the mayor’s help for more than two years later until they could return to a liberated Paris.

Her parents, who had a third child while in hiding, made a point of toasting each other with wine each Sunday to celebrate surviving another week.

“Our story is a story of miracles,” Bornstein said.

Mayol, who came to Atlanta as a refugee in 2001, added a simple message: “Support the children of the world.”

Photos by Michael Jacobs