Canadian Walk For Veterans national co-organizer Marc Burchell at White Rock pier. Virtual walk events will be timed for Sept. 26 and 27 this year. Contributed photo.

White Rock-based Canadian Walk for Veterans grows online

Pandemic gives unexpected boost to annual event

The Canadian Walk For Veterans was to have hosted an event in White Rock this year.

The current pandemic put a crimp in that plan, as national co-organizer – and Peninsula resident – Marc Burchell noted.

But COVID-19 has had another unexpected consequence for the third annual awareness-raising event, he said – and, for once, this one is positive.

“Ironically, the pandemic has caused us to grow significantly by forcing us to adapt to a virtual event for this year,” he observed to Peace Arch News, noting the walk will take place over the weekend of Sept. 26 and Sept. 27.

“By going ‘virtual’ it has dramatically advanced our ultimate goal of having the annual walk in every city in Canada.” he said.

The event already has registered walkers in 76 cities in Canada – and as far away as Florida, Michigan and Melbourne, Australia.

“I guess that makes us international, now!” he added.

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Started in 2018 to raise the profile of Canada’s veterans – and the public’s support and gratitude for their service – the Canadian Walk For Veterans will now encourage even greater interactive response over a much wider scope, Burchell said.

A media release from the organization describes an expanded theme for the event as well, which in addition to focusing on military personnel and veterans, will also honour first responders, civil servants, and “every essential frontline worker” across Canada.

“This year we highlight the contributions made by those who choose to give of themselves when times get hard…Canadians coast-to-coast will unite and walk virtually ‘shoulder-to-shoulder” to say thank you,” the release states.

“Supporters are encouraged to register and get active in their communities, at a location of their choice, any time over the two days, and walk, run, bike, do push-ups or whatever they choose,” the release states.

The next step for participants, it notes, is to “show their support by uploading pictures and videos of their Canadian Walk For Veterans experience to social media and tag us on it using #Canwalk4vets.

Registration fee is $20, but net proceeds of this year’s walk will be donated to Courageous Companions, an organization that provides service dogs to help military veterans and first responders live full and meaningful lives.

“CWFV is aware of the massive assistance that a service dog can do for someone suffering with PTSD, OSIs (Operational Stress Injury) or traumatic events,” the release states.

“These dogs have a huge positive impact due to their intensive training and unwavering loyalty, (but) the cost to develop one of these dogs can be immense, (prohibitive) for some, and, unfortunately is still not covered by Veterans Affairs Canada.”

For more information on the service dogs, visit courageouscompanions.ca

Registration details for the walk are at canadianwalkforveterans.com



alex.browne@peacearchnews.com

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