I can’t believe the 15th annual Heel ‘n’ Wheel-a-thon is now behind us!
It’s been a very busy couple of weeks leading up to the event and I had the honour (as honorary chair, tee hee) to chat with some local media leading up to the event. I was excited to know that on Thursday I made the cover of the Beach/Leslieville/Riverdale Mirror!The article discussed my involvement with the event and focused on my desire to raise awareness of IBD in Canada.
As I wrote my honorary chair speech on Saturday, I realized that I was less than $200 away from reaching my fundraising goal of $3000 so I solicited some donations on Facebook and Twitter over the course of the afternoon and was able to hit $3000 on the dot! Thanks so much to everyone who donated – I can’t wait to see if the Toronto event hit its goal of $325,000!
All week the weather people were talking about thunderstorms and rain for the day of the walk, which made me pretty sad. Apparently it NEVER rains on Heel ’n’ Wheel day and I didn’t want my year as Honorary Chair to break that tradition!! I got up bright and early on Sunday and was greeted by cloudy skies. Clouds I could deal with! I arrived onsite a little before 7 am and spent the morning helping wherever I could… and socializing with other members of the Committee… and seeing friends – old and new! I spent a bit of time with Hannah, who was the awesome Honorary Chair last year. I remembered seeing Hannah’s team (the Cranky Colons) with their bright green t-shirts at last year’s walk. Her mum was on the organizing committee and it was awesome to meet Hannah this year and chat about our similar (yet very different) journeys with this disease. I also had the pleasure of meeting super cute Megan who writes The Gut Gazette Megan and I have been corresponding via email and blogs for a long time now, so it was awesome to finally put the online persona and actual person together! Megan and her team the Grand Poo-Bahs were decked out in purple t-shirts and did an amazing job fundraising!
My friends Lindsay, Michelle & Brenda arrived to join me on the walkIt was so sweet of them to join me for the event and I was excited to have some great friends to enjoy Sunnybrook Park with! After a super fun and energetic warm up(with scissors no less) we were ready to hit the road! I got to cut the ribbon… and we were off! We enjoyed stickers and delicious fruit along our beautiful 5k in Sunnybrook. The weather held up and it was the perfect temperature to be walking. The 4 of us had a lovely time chatting along the route and cheering at each of the route stations. We took about an hour to do the 5k before hitting the finish line Just like last year, the food was still an issue for me at the event… made worse by the presence of a dessert truck Seriously? I recognize that there may have been a time in years past that I might have jumped on the opportunity for a deep-fried twinkie (!) but things have changed since then, and I truly believe that at an event around raising money and awareness for Inflammatory Bowel Disease, we should be promoting HEALTH. Deep-fried things on sticks, pizza and burgers don’t promote health to me at all and I hope that moving forward it is something that will continue to evolve. One of the members of the organizing committee and I are going to chat about ideas for next year and I hope that I can leave an imprint on the event in that way. I brought my own food for the day and had fun chatting with the healthier vendors in attendance like Bio K and Simply Bars.
After having my face painted I had the pleasure of thanking everyone for coming out and sharing a bit of my story. I felt really comfortable up on stage and later our PR Coordinator told me that I was very brave. It was a very successful (but long!) day and overall it’s been great to have been the Honorary Chair for this year’s event. It has enabled me to connect with some great people and has also given me the opportunity to share my story with others and in turn hopefully raise awareness of IBD.
Thank you to everyone who supported me in this event with words, donations or by joining me at the walk. I couldn’t have done it without all of you and I truly appreciate it!!