Right now we are hashing out the registration forms, so that people can register for the walk, order T-shirts if they want them, and get things firmed up. Hopefully registration forms will be on the LymeWalk website by this weekend, Feburary 12th.
But -- and this is the question from many --- how far is the walk? Is it a race? What are the prizes? What is the time limit?
No, it is not a race, as such. No time limit. No expectations, other than your presence and sharing the awareness with others. I'm hoping to offer a good prize to the person bringing in the most funds, though, through collecting donations from friends or family, but that's just a thought at this point and not a firm part of the planning.
The "formal" walk part will take around 20 - 30 minutes or so. See map here below or on Picasa (click the magnifying glass to enlarge on Picasa). Afterwards, there will be prize giving and draws, fun and time to talk to Lymies and families, sponsors, the artist who designed the T-shirt, play the Penny Sale, join the kids in a sack race or face painting, and just enjoy the day. I'm hoping someone from CanLyme will be there as well to share some information. Make sure you talk to the vet who will be there, about Lyme Disease in pets - they can be treated!
However, there are paved paths all around Chinguacousy Park. Those who want to walk more, or even jog a little after the Lyme walk, would be free and welcome to do so! It is a lovely park with lots to see. Remember to visit the greenhouse - it is free. Take the kids to the barn and the petting zoo. Walk around the ponds and enjoy sitting on the grass, looking at the ducks and other birds. You are welcome to bring a picnic and propane bbq if you wish. We are planning activities and fun for kids, and during the afternoon, after our event, the park will have a Midway, so families can really make an outing of it!
|Ching Park map - click for larger view|
Truth is, this Lyme Awareness Day is supposed to be a family outing, a time spent learning and sharing about Lyme Disease, of relaxing in the park with a picnic after the walk, and for Lymies and their loved ones to get the emotional support we so desperately need from each other. To know we are not alone, that others are suffering and struggling as well, can mean as much as a load of medication and supplements. And for those who are caregivers and friends, helplessly watching a family member in pain or struggling, this gathering is a way to feel they are doing something instead of just standing by.
Last year when Kim and I went to Ottawa in May 2011 to attend the Lyme Rally on Parliament Hill, it was an uplifting experience for both of us (and the others!) to suddenly see other green T-shirts, to talk and hear stories, and to say, "me too!" Together, we can face this battle. And teach others about it so that they might avoid the struggle we've gone through to get diagnosed, treated and well again.
Any funds raised on May 19th will be donated to the Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation. Their mission is to educate, to research and to teach about Lyme Disease. The dream is to one day have a testing facility in Canada where people with Lyme symptoms can go for testing, without having to face the battle of disbelief, scepticism and "it is all in your head".
Taking part in our Lyme Awareness Day, be it walking or as spectator, paying the registration fee or adding a few dollars as donation, bring us closer to this dream. Who knows, the next person you talk to, might have undiagnosed Lyme disease now or in the near future, and your information might help them on their journey.