Ahh…April…If longer daylight hours and warmer spring weather have you thinking about getting more outdoor exercise, then participating in a fundraising walk for a cancer organization may be the perfect way to shake off the winter doldrums!
Cancer walks, as they are often called, have increased in number over the years, and they have remained popular with the donating public and with philanthropic organizations alike—and with good reason. Most experts agree that exercise is essential for physical well-being, and walking is often recommended as an ideal way to stay fit. Preparing to participate in a charity walk is a great way to get moving, while raising money and awareness for a cause you care about. Having fitness and fundraising goals you are working toward help to keep you motivated and being part of something larger than yourself—as a team member and event participant—helps build supportive bonds and creates community.
Even before the last of the snow has melted, the new crop of spring walks begins popping up as organizers and walkers are eager to get going; it’s never too early to start preparing. Now is the time to take action if you want to get involved in the events that take place from mid-April until early summer.
If you are thinking about participating in a cancer walk this spring, here are some things to consider.
First, do a little research. What type of event do you want to join? Some raise money and awareness for specific cancer types, whereas others are more general. Large events often feature several types of running or walking races in a day. The races themselves vary in length and degree of difficulty. Some are leisurely paced walks, whereas others approximate running races or endurance contests and are held over many days. An event may offer both a 5K run and a 1-mile walk so that it can be open to walkers at all levels of fitness. Most will accommodate various health considerations (some will waive fees for people with cancer), many welcome children with special kids’ events and activities, and some allow 4-legged friends to walk the course, too!
If you will be walking (or running) in an event, you will be expected to do at least some fundraising to earn that commemorative T-shirt! Most of the sponsoring organizations make it easy to collect donations, with online navigation tools to assist in reaching out for contributors, completing your registration materials, and keeping you on track with other details. So be ready to ask friends, neighbors, coworkers, and family members to support your efforts—maybe they’ll even join you by becoming team members.
In fact, many people with cancer and cancer survivors use annual walks as an opportunity to gather friends and family together and form a team to be part of the fight. “Wendi’s Warriors” in Herndon, Virginia, did just that. For years, the large group of friends and neighbors—moms, dads, and kids—formed several teams and walked together in the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life to show their support for Wendi and her young family as she battled endometrial cancer. They continued to walk in her honor after she died from the disease.
Should some members of your extended circle choose not to walk in the event, there are many other ways to participate—from helping with the fundraising and publicity, to donating goods or services, to volunteering on event day, to cheering on the walkers.
We hope this has inspired you to hit the ground walking this spring! But before you head out, remember, it takes some physical preparation to get ready for an event; start slowly, especially if you’ve been inactive for a while. Plan to spend time getting in walking condition. A training app for your cell phone can help you build stamina and speed for the big day. Water, sunblock, a sun visor or sunglasses, and good walking shoes are essential. As is your doctor’s approval if you are actively undergoing treatment.
And if you started too late for this spring, the fall walking season is just around the corner, and this is the best time to get in training for fall’s roster of walks! Check back here, as we’ll be updating our site with the late summer and fall walks.
We’ve put together a list of some of the national organizations sponsoring walks this spring season to help you find the right walk for you. While we’ve limited our search to larger organizations, that doesn’t mean you have to. If you have a specific cause in mind, contact their national organization and ask if they are sponsoring any events in your area. Many smaller local organizations and hospitals sponsor walks too, and they won’t have the budget or means to advertise far and wide. So, check social media, your local newspaper, or Chamber of Commerce to see what might be planned in your community. Happy walking!
Share this post with family or friends, and inspire them to join you in a cancer walk this spring!