A recent virtual walk raised more than $13,000 for Communitas Supportive Care Society in Abbotsford.
The Move4Communitas fitness challenge took place over eight weeks, starting March 1, and involved 100 participants on 16 teams walking a total of 14,000 kilometres – the distance from Campbell River to Cape Spear and back.
Athletes tracked their kilometres using fitness tracking apps that automatically uploaded their efforts to the Move4Communitas webpage.
For every dollar they raised, another kilometre was added to their distance. Corporate donations from local businesses and incentive prizes donated by Abbotsford Costco added to the motivation to keep moving.
While participants enjoyed the friendly competition between teams and teammates, many commented on the way that the event impacted their own physical and mental health.
Brigitte Gietema said focusing on the blessings in her life and having support from family and friends helps maintain her mental health.
Being physically active also makes a huge impact, especially when she is active outdoors. She loves hiking and is an avid cyclist, travelling across Canada in 2017. She said she enjoyed being part of the Move4Communitas fundraiser.
“I was glad to be doing this as I myself have dealt with mental health issues for many years,” Gietema said. “I appreciated the camaraderie of our team and the chance to have my activities also raise funds for mental health services.”
Micah Reimer is a mental health worker with Communitas. He participated by walking, hiking, and cycling, often doing the Abby Grind, and completed 1028.2 kilometres during the event.
He said he is grateful to work for an organization that prioritizes the mental health of the people it serves as well as its employees. He loved how the event created camaraderie and accountability in his team.
“It has been great to see so many people involved in making mental and physical health a priority,” he said. “The Move4Communitas fundraiser has been a safe place to build confidence in oneself through the encouragement from co-workers and the feeling of accomplishment.”
Funds raised from the event support a number of Communitas mental health initiatives, including Peer Support, wellness tools, and employment services.
Sarah De Klein, resource development coordinator for Communitas, said she is grateful for all the athletes who participated and to the many donors who supported them.
“Move4Communitas proved to be such a success on so many levels and importantly raised much-needed funds for our mental health initiatives which are so critical as we move through this pandemic,” she said.
“Staying connected, feeling cherished and supported – these things matter and this is why community support matters. We are blessed to be part of a great community.”
Visit CommunitasCare.com for more information