Members of the Fibromyalgia Well Spring Foundation are raising awareness for invisible illnesses one step at a time across B.C., and all the way to Banff, Alta.
Just One More Step is a walk that begins in the Fraser Valley in support of Fibromyalgia, along with other illnesses.
After two years of planning, the group left Langley on May 24 and will be passing through Agassiz on Friday, May 27.
Since the walks planning began, foundation’s business manager Nigel Thom said it didn’t take long for the walks purpose to expand.
“It went from just a walk for fibromyalgia to all the invisible illnesses,” he said. “It just sort of blossomed about three months after the subject came up.”
While the walk is still hosted by the foundation, it is now raising funds and awareness for a variety of invisible illnesses, including PTSD, migraines, high blood pressure, diabetes, bipolar, and chronic fatigue.
The group’s plan is to make it to Banff in 40 days. With 11,000 kilometres of ground to cover, members have been training for months.
“A lot of them have been walking on and off for the last two years,” Thom said. “We’re only doing 25 to 28 kilometres a day and it’s broken up into four sections. We’re trying to be off the road by 5 o’clock at night.”
While there are only 12 participants that are completing the entire race from start to finish, Thom noted that there could be anywhere from 20 to 30 people walking at any given time. Various groups will be joining in for shorter distances, including Chilliwack and Abbotsford support groups, as well as other organizations from Agassiz, Seabird Island and Hope.
This won’t be the first walk that the foundation has completed, but it will by far be the longest. The foundation completed their first walk four years ago around the City of Langley, followed by a five kilometre walk the next year.
“Then Cheryl Young, the founder Executive Director, decided that she was going to walk to Banff to bring more awareness to the invisible illnesses,” Thom said. “That was two years ago and that’s when the planning started. Now we have a whole bunch of people on board.”
And the fundraising won’t stop when the walk is over. A film crew will also be collecting interviews from participants and documenting their journey.
“We’re going to ask the people that are walking to give their stories of what’s been going on in their life, why they’re walking, and what they expect to get out of the walk,” Thom explained. “We’re going to put a calendar together for the next year and have it as a fundraiser for the foundation.”
While walking across the province may not be for everyone, the foundation is still seeking support through donations, which can be made gofundme.com/just1morestep2016.
Participants of the walk to Banff will arrive at the Kent District Hall on May 27 at 12 p.m. For more information visit .fibromyalgiawellspringfoundation.org.