For the past six years, I’ve had the great privilege of serving as a national spokesperson for the IOCDF, and during that time, I’ve enjoyed participating in all kinds of conferences, talks, and special events. None has raised my excitement more than the 1 Million Steps 4 OCD Walk. There’s just something magic about what this project has to offer.
First, this is our chance to come together as a community—to show the world how united we are in our commitment to raising awareness around OCD and related disorders. Just think about the stigma-busting message we are sending by bringing together people living with OCD and their loved ones, professional treatment providers, and our generous supporters from across the country. We are saying, loudly and proudly: “We are facing this challenge together, so no one ever needs to feel alone.”
Second, 1 Million Steps 4 OCD offers us a powerful platform for raising money—critical funding for research, education, and a variety of IOCDF programs that support countless people impacted by OCD. By providing the ability for donors to walk either in person or virtually, this campaign allows anyone, anywhere to get involved. Grassroots fundraising at its best!
Finally, as anyone who has followed my own outreach knows, I am a firm believer in the notion that we help ourselves by helping others. Many of us impacted by OCD have been through—or are currently going through—great pain because of this disorder. By affording us an opportunity to turn this adversity into advocacy, 1 Million Steps 4 OCD allows us to be of service to others impacted by OCD, and in so doing, derive an extremely motivating sense of purpose. What a gift!
On Saturday, May 10, I will be serving as emcee of this year’s inaugural 1 Million Steps 4 OCD Walk in Sacramento. If you’re in the area, please come join me and the many other West Coast walkers who will gather in Southside Park, a popular park just blocks from the California State Capitol. To learn more, visit: www.iocdf.org/walkNORCAL.
For those of you in the Boston area, be sure to join the East Coast walkers on Saturday, June 7, at Jamaica Pond, site of last year’s phenomenally successful inaugural walk. (To learn more about the Boston walk, visit: www.iocdf.org/walkBOSTON.)
And please remember that if you can’t take part in the Boston or Sacramento walks, you can always join the walk “virtually” by setting up a fundraising page and pledging to Walk for OCD between now and June 7th. This can be something you do on your own, such as your daily morning walk or run, or you can gather a team of friends and family to walk with you at a local park on a specific day. If you sign up by May 10, 2014, you can even receive your walk T-shirt in time to wear it as you walk. To learn how to walk in your community, visit: www.iocdf.org/virtualwalk.
If all of this sounds a bit daunting, I hope you will follow the advice of my dear friend Denis Asselin, who walked over 500 miles—or roughly one million steps—in memory of his son Nathaniel, a longtime sufferer of severe body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) and OCD. As Denis told me, you simply make the journey one step at a time.
IOCDF Spokesperson and Board Member