Great Strides, Great Hopes and Great Participation in 2008
May 23, 2008
Great Strides turns 20 this year, and there’s plenty to celebrate! Walkers turned out in droves from Seattle to South Florida this past weekend, helping to make 2008 National Walk Weekend the most successful yet.
“Nothing says ‘We can—and will—find a cure’ like Great Strides weekend,” says Cystic Fibrosis Foundation President and CEO Robert J. Beall, Ph.D. “This year’s turnout was bigger and better than ever.”
A number of new walk sites met—and exceeded—their goals. In Philadelphia, rain clouds could not dampen an event “infused with energy,” says Delaware Valley Chapter volunteer Kim Galie, and the Chapter raised a whopping $84,000. The Greater New York Chapter’s new Brooklyn walk, which raised $81,000, drew support from families excited to finally have a walk right in their own backyard.
Hundreds of walkers turned out for the new Philadelphia walk, including those on Team Vicki’s Vision, led by Kim Galie and named for her daughter Vicki, 8, who has CF.
New sites also benefited from great corporate support. The Metro Detroit Chapter partnered with several large corporations to raise nearly $50,000 at its new Detroit walk. The Greater New York Chapter’s new Congers-Rockland walk had a strong corporate presence, and closed its first year with an impressive $51,000.
Competition was key to the five walk sites—Atlanta, Minneapolis, Chicago, Houston and Rye, N.Y.—vying for the honor of “top” walk site for 2008. “The competitive spirit got people energized,” says Lou DeFalco, Chicago Chapter volunteer, who along with hundreds of others marched along Chicago’s Montrose Harbor. “Everybody was revved up to be that No. 1 site.”
The Texas Gulf Coast Chapter’s Houston walk, the 2007 winner, was eager to repeat its success. “Last year was great, but we were determined to make this year even greater,” says Mike McGinnis, Great Strides Co-chair. Although the Houston walk is over, McGinnis says he has no plans to stop fund-raising. “We Texans love to do things bigger and better!”
The Atlanta, Minneapolis and Rye, N.Y., walks also are enjoying the competition to be number one. “Being the best means even more when the teams you’re competing with are so outstanding,” says longtime Georgia Chapter volunteer Bob Hope, who participated in the Atlanta walk.
Great Strides is far from over, however, as fund-raising continues throughout the year. The top walk site will be announced in early 2009.
“Great Strides 2008 was all about optimism,” says Minnesota Chapter volunteer and Volunteer Leadership Initiative Co-chair Pam Mertz.” It’s about how we continue to move forward and raise more money than ever. But mostly, it’s about how we’re more positive than ever that ‘CF’ will soon stand for Cure Found.”