GENEVA – LivingWell Cancer Resource Center’s 15th annual Bridge Walk fundraiser has been turned into a virtual event because of the COVID-19 pandemic, officials said.
On Friday, survivors drove their cars past center’s Geneva headquarters while staff and volunteers stood on the sidewalks – safely distanced from each other – to cheer them, said Angela McCrum, director of LivingWell Cancer Resource Center.
“This is the kick off, just to get everybody excited and to build awareness,” McCrum said. “You’ve seen birthday parades? We are doing a parade with our cancer patients, their partners and their caregivers. … Even though we have to be in the phase of virtuality and social distancing, we want to show that our energy and passion and support for them is still there.”
Instead of being held May 15 at Fabyan Forest Preserve, the 5K Bridge Walk will continue – virtually – from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Sept. 25 where participants can choose where and when to walk or run, McCrum said.
LivingWell will stream a short program on Facebook followed by a live DJ to bring music while participants complete their Bridge Walks – while maintaining social distancing – in their own communities.
“The Bridge Walk is a celebration of cancer survivors,” McCrum said. “Because of COVID, we had to cancel.”
But not for long.
“Once we all acclimated to COVID and doing things online and virtually, even LivingWell is doing everything on a virtual platform,” McCrum said. “Everybody in the community has adapted to COVID and doing things more virtually. In order to honor people in the cancer community, we decided to host a virtual walk.”
Families touched by cancer are encouraged to send in photos and short biographies that LivingWell can post in a montage during the Facebook live virtual walk, she said.
While participants can’t see Facebook while they’re walking or running, it will be recorded for later viewing, she said.
Net proceeds will benefit LivingWell Cancer Resource Center, which provides more than 120 programs and services at no cost to individuals and families affected by cancer.
Registration fees are $25 for age 13 and older; $15 for children age 7-12.
Children six and younger and cancer survivor may participate at no cost.
The goal for this year’s Bridge Walk is $275,000, according to the online registration information.
The Bridge Walk registration page shows the nonprofit is at 1% of its goal, with $3,925 raised so far.
But McCrum said it is her understanding from past years – she has only been at helm for a year – most people register in the last two to three weeks before the walk.
“We are doing some media awareness,” McCrum said. “We are just at the beginning of getting the word out. I’m excited. I think we are going to see that 1% grow.”
More information about registering and forming fundraising teams is available online through its website, livingwellcrc.org.