So, here's the story of how our Great Strides Walk came to be.
Tricia's family has been participating in a Great Strides walk in April/May in Medford, NJ every year since Tricia was in elementary school.
In 2002, about a year after we started dating, I joined their team, and through 2006, Tricia and I participated with about 20 of our family members.
After we were married in 2004, I began to have a desire to become more actively involved in these events, but it was difficult because we were still attending the walk in NJ. There were two walks very near Portsmouth, VA (where we lived our first two years of marriage), but it was more practical for Tricia and I to drive to NJ than it was for most of her family to come down to us.
A few months after moving to Nags Head in June of 2006, I contacted the national CFF via email, asking about how I could help start a Great Strides Walk somewhere on the OBX. The nearest walks at that time were in Chesapeake, VA and Raleigh, NC.
My goal was to help organize an event and get the ball rolling that first year, and hope that somebody else would pick up the ball and take over for future years. A few days later, I received an email from Jane at the Raleigh CFF office. We set up a meeting for a few weeks later when Tricia and I would be visiting Duke.
Jane explained everything that would be involved, and we agreed to go for it. We were placed under the guidance of Sophia Olson of the Raleigh CFF, and Tricia and I began recruiting family and friends to help us. We set a goal of $15,000, which later became $20,000. Sophia provided us with all of the resources and ideas and help that we needed (and, she has become a good friend as well!).
We got a later start than most, and had our kick-off party in January of 2007. By the time of the walk, we had about 30 people on board helping out. We got our local newspaper involved, publishing pictures and even a few stories about Tricia and the walk. We used local radio as well. We received several large money, food and drink donations from large corporate sponsors.
The day of the event basically looked like this:
> Free breakfast provided by a local restaurant
> Games and activities for children
> Raffle involving over 75 items
> Free pizza, subs, drinks, frozen custard, candy, etc.
> A 1 mile walk that lasted about 45 minutes.
> A live DJ for music and announements
> Plenty of open space to hang out and play
The even officially went from 9am to 1pm, and despite some sketchy-looking but perfect weather, we guestimated that 150 to 200 people stopped by for at least part of the event. We raised over $30,000.
Every walk is different, although, I'm sure, every event is just as fun. This year, our friends and family back home are organizing the September 13 walk without us, and Seth Soria's family and friends are organizing a similar walk in Elizabeth City on the same date.
Again, if you want more info in organizing a Great Strides Walk or other CF Event in your area, please Contact the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
Most walks are taking place in the next 2-3 months, so sign up today and help us make Great Strides in finding a cure for CF!