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Walkathon: Social Distancing’s Effect on a Very Social Event

Carol Foote, Development DirectorCarol Foote, Development DirectorWe are gearing up for our annual Walkathon, encouraging the participation of teams of fundraisers and asking businesses and organizations for sponsorships. We have been fortunate to secure support in the name of the work that LifePath does daily. Thank you to sponsors and fundraisers who have been out there doing what we have asked of you for the benefit of local elders, people with disabilities, and their caregivers.

As we are in the midst of unknown impact and consequences of the coronavirus, we have taken a step back to consider and discuss how we can minimize the potential impact of the virus on our community while still providing support to our community. The threat has already increased the community’s need for the resources LifePath provides beyond what is already required of our staff and partners. 

The threat has already increased the community’s need for the resources LifePath provides beyond what is already required of our staff and partners. 

We’ve been hearing from people who now use or need support. They are concerned with what might happen if that support was unavailable due to possible effects of a quarantine for themselves, a trusted volunteer, or favorite caregiver. LifePath provides “human service” so the reality is when people are affected, services for those who depend upon them are affected as well. 

The Walkathon has always been the best example of how this community comes together for those LifePath serves. We know that most of the work happens in the weeks leading up to the Walkathon, and event day offers fundraisers and sponsors the opportunity to display their pride and commitment among others who have done and feel the same. We love seeing it all come together, but now must look responsibly at the health impact of the Walkathon in the era of coronavirus.

We want to host the event, but have to consider more creative options since having to practice social distancing and not gather in groups of any size. In response, our plan is to host a virtual event rather than coming together in a physical location. At this time, we don’t know yet what the virtual event looks like. This feels like the best way to honor your efforts, protect the health of our community, and provide for the needs that exist, now more than ever. 

How do we carry on while protecting participants and supporting those we serve?

  • Act with intention. For businesses, become a sponsor because you know the work LifePath does enhances lives and matters to each individual we serve. 
  • Continue your fundraising. Use a personalized link to ask friends and family for online donations.  If you don't have one yet, I’d be happy to set one up for you. Share the link through social media, email, or text. Donors give directly online and, because it's your personal or team link, your tally will increase before your very eyes!
  • Know that your actions have a lasting impact. Donating during Walkathon season carries into the future and makes living at home, with supports, possible for people who would not be able to live independently otherwise.
  • Engage with LifePath on social media. Every few days, we’ll post a prompt for you to respond so you know we are invested in your efforts.

It is our hope that individuals, businesses, and organizations can help us make the best of an evolving situation. We are all architects of this community and what it provides in times of stability and change. Instead of letting go of the goodwill and momentum for Walkathon 2020, we wish to celebrate any and all participation and empower those efforts while respecting orders to limit social interactions. 

If you have questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact me. Your input will allow us to move forward in the best ways possible.

Wishing you good health!