Sanders: Why walk?
Just because a question is asked it should not provoke readers to wrath, but rather to search their souls for responses, perhaps even think about the question, consider alternative thoughts and even explain their actions to others.
Every time there is another walk to raise awareness for some cause, I can’t help but wonder if there would not be a more productive use of time. Granted many, but not all, walks are also fundraisers. Two large walks that raise money in several locations are the Susan G. Komen Foundation Race for the Cure and Avon 39, both on behalf of breast cancer.
Some walks are just to bring awareness to a cause. A brief check on the internet showed walks for elder abuse, food allergies, domestic abuse, brain injury, overdose, dementia, down syndrome, mental illness, pregnancy and infant loss, along with 18 other medical difficulties ranging from ALS to Parkinson’s disease. Of course there are many more causes that are not medical. How does a walk to bring awareness to a cause help anything? The people who have it and their families are quite aware. Instead of walking to bring attention to the plight of dementia, why don’t these people volunteer to do respite care for the caregivers? Or help their neighbors with some chores?
I know what it is like to be a survivor of suicide. My mom killed herself when I was 11 years old. I don’t need to walk to raise my awareness of suicide. If others in the same boat as I walk, what is the point? Who do they think they will be helping? It would be a long stretch to imagine potential suicidal individuals would be walking with such a group. Perhaps the walk is more of a commiseration with others who have suffered the same blows. That could happen in a support group, but how does a walk help?
Having first-hand knowledge of a challenge such as having a baby die in utero, then having to go through labor to expel the baby, as I did, would not in the least compel me to participate in a walk to bring awareness. The women who have had that happen are fully aware of the tragedy. No amount of laymen’s knowledge nor discussion will lead to such problems not occurring again.
Wouldn’t it be more productive to do something for our neighbors instead of spending the time organizing and publicizing a walk? The time devoted to putting on a walk could help many neighbors. Depending on the season there could be leaves to be raked, hoses to be stored for winter, windows to be washed, snow to be shoveled, lawns to be mowed or even food to be made and shared. Indeed it is face-to-face time that is the desired commodity. And that, I suspect, is truly the basis for these gatherings. Are you an organizer or walker for any cause? If so, I’d like to hear from you. Maybe you can convince me there is more to walking for a cause than I see.❖