First annual Walk of Life surpasses expectations, raises $15,000

Alex
Alex Di Pietro
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More than 50 people took part in the first annual Walk of Life at Prime Ministers’ Park on Saturday. 

Lorraine Forbes (left) and Grace Cromartie of Shellbrook finish a lap at the first annual Walk of Life on Saturday.

Around $15,000 was raised for the Prince Albert Parkland Health Region’s fitLife program.

Participants registered as either individuals or teams of five for two- or five-kilometre walks and five- or 10-kilometre runs. An awards ceremony, silent auction and barbecue followed the walk. The highest amount raised by an individual was $500.

“The turnout for the first event has met and exceeded our expectations,” organizer and exercise therapist Dean Gaudet said. “So, for the little bit of work, I think it’s worth doing again.”

Created in 1995, the fitLife program is used for the rehabilitation of people who have chronic heart disease and lung conditions. It is also used by people who are at risk of developing heart- and lung-related problems.

The program had an average of about 100 participants last year.

“We’re getting 300-plus referrals in a year, and that’s just of the people who have gone to Saskatoon and have heart-related issues,” Gaudet said. “It’s going to help a lot of people in the long run. We’ve touched a lot of people in the last few years.”

Gaudet said the funds would go toward purchasing equipment.

“At our program we provide exercise, so we need a means to do that,” he said. “We’re looking at a recumbent bicycle right now. We have some monitors that have to be fixed. As of right now, that’s where it’s going to go.

“Beyond that, we didn’t know how much we were going to raise, so it was pretty hard to decide what we were actually going to purchase.”

Event participants included those in the program and their families.

“This is strictly for fun. We do realize that a lot of the participants are cardiac patients as well, so we don’t need anybody to be stressed and worry about (finish) times,” Gaudet said. “If people can’t walk the expected distance, it’s not a big deal.”

Scotiabank decided to join efforts with the fitLife program and match the amount of money raised up to the target of $5,000.

“I recruited some Scotiabankers to help out,” said Paulette Gaudet, manager of customer service at Scotiabank, Kinistino branch. “A lot of our customers use the (health) centre.”

Shellbrook sisters Grace Cromartie and Lorraine Forbes registered as individuals for the 5-km walk. Cromartie raised $270 and Forbes raised $105. Both suffer from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and are in the fitLife program.

“It gets everybody together and involved, and we’re the ones who will benefit,” Cromartie said of the fundraiser.

Along with COPD, Forbes has experienced knee surgery. Cromartie has problems with her legs and back and has had hip-replacement surgery.  

“When I first started walking (due to the COPD), I couldn’t do two laps in the gym,” Cromartie said. “And now, I can do just over 30, so I was pretty sure that I’d be able to do this.”

 

alex.dipietro@paherald.sk.ca

Organizations: Scotiabank

Geographic location: Saskatoon, Kinistino

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