The first North Okanagan Safeway Walk for Muscular Dystrophy was held this past Saturday, May 4th in Vernon. The event raised over $13,000! With over 100 people attending and seven Walk teams, the event was a success! Volunteer Walk Coordinator, Reg Bardsley, has an incredibly busy day making sure that the event runs smoothly.
For almost 20 years Reg served on various Fire Departments and Rescue Units throughout British Columbia as a Fire Fighter/Rescue specialist. In 2002 he was diagnosed with Fasio-scapular-humoral Dystrophy, an adult onset type of muscular dystrophy that manifests with weakness at first then progressing to almost full wasting of the muscles. Reg was forced to retire from Fire fighting & Rescue. Since his diagnosis he has been an advocate of those with disabilities concerning access to transit and related handicap mobility issues.
Reg’s Walk Day:
7:00 a.m. – Get up and have coffee (must have coffee it’s going to be a long day!) Even with all the planning I’d done, I’m thinking about all that needs to be done to make our Walk a successful day for all.
8:00 a.m. – Head off in my wheelchair loaded with items for the activities, signs for Muscular Dystrophy Canada and all the other necessary set up materials. My wheelchair is pulling a trailer filled with stuff!
8:30 a.m. – Arrive at the venue to meet with Fermco Rentals for placement of the Porta-potties. Here comes Mike from the Lions Club to position the cook trailer for the lunch. There are a lot of people and volunteers who make the event possible!
9:00 a.m. – Cindy and the Canada Safeway crew arrives to start setup. Five more volunteers arrive so we make our way down the walkway to place the Muscle Facts signs along the route for a scavenger hunt game.
9:30 a.m. – Firemen arrive and set up the tents, banners and flags. Tables & chairs are getting placed for the Scotiabank volunteer team to run the registration.
10:00 a.m. – Starting to jokingly think, “are we done yet?” Things are coming together though! I think we are ready, and here comes our MDC Fundraising Coordinator, Jeannine (after bit of airplane troubles she has arrived! I can stop worrying now!) I am having another coffee to celebrate her arrival lifting a great stress off of me. Jeannine will be able to arrange the registration paperwork with the Scotiabank crew.
11:00 a.m. – Wheeling around getting volunteers to start running activities including lawn bowling and hoop toss being chased down by at least a dozen people, from volunteers to media and anyone else wanting to talk to the guy in charge. I did a TV interview with Shaw/Global BC then another with Kiss FM as well as taking pictures for the Morning Star newspaper. So this is what celebrities feel like!
12:00 p.m. – Lions and Safeway cooking hotdogs, firemen hanging balloons, Kiss Fm events crew wanting an interview, Vernon Mayor arrives to greet us and get ready for the ribbon cutting. Looking good!
12:30 p.m. – Now it’s time to assemble everyone for the opening speeches. Wow, what a turnout! It is great to see so many here. I do my speech welcoming everyone and get started on the official opening. There is a red ribbon across the pathway which Walk participants Micaela Evans, Joey Christiansen and Jacob Brayshaw help Mayor Sawatsky cut.
1:00 p.m. – Walk for Muscular Dystrophy is happening! It is so exciting to see so many people walking and rolling, each with their own reasons for participating.
2:00 p.m. – Jeannine tells me that we have reached $13,000 in donations! WOOT! I am overwhelmed. We gather for the awards and closing ceremony. As we prepare our speeches I am thinking back to January when I thought if we could raise $5,000 we would be a success, now we are over double and it’s hard to fight the tears of joy at the totals. The smiles and the stories will stay with me for a long time.
3:00 p.m. – I am tired but today has been such a blessing, and now I am exhausted! I talk with Jeannine about future projects and what we can do to make next year’s Walk event even better.
4:00 p.m. – I am home now. Time to relax and reflect on the day and think of what was accomplished, so many challenges met and exceeded. So many people to thank their for their help and support. I think I will sleep well tonight after the excitement mellows. A great day!
Thank you all for your support and effort in making our first annual North Okanagan Safeway Walk for Muscular Dystrophy such a huge success!
Reg explains that his involvement with Muscular Dystrophy Canada as a volunteer and motivational speaker/educator has been a blessing to his own life in giving him a purpose and a chance to give back while still accepting the limitations of his disability.
As a client of MDC Reg has received assistance in the form of specially constructed leg braces and recently, when the braces no longer served his needs, a wheelchair that he would have otherwise not been able to afford. Reg explains, “the wheelchair has granted me a new outlook on my life by allowing me the freedom and independence to wheel around town on my own to shop for groceries, go out for a visit and of course for fundraising!”
Find out more about the Services that the Walk for Muscular Dystrophy helps make possible.