After threat of cancellation, the Walk with Your Doc event in Port Alberni has been revamped and revitalized with a new date, new name and new location.
John Douglas, who is on the board of directors with the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), overheard that there were plans to cancel the popular event. Local doctor Daryl Lund had been organizing the Walk with Your Doc event for the past seven or eight years, but was having trouble finding someone to come forward and take on his role.
“I thought, let’s try and save it,” said Douglas.
He spoke to other directors on the CMHA board and suggested that the association get involved. He also spoke to Karen Freethy with the city of Port Alberni’s parks, recreation and heritage department, as well as local doctor Robbie O’Dwyer.
“It started out with just the three of us, with the backing of CMHA,” said Douglas. “It kind of grew from there.”
Because of the near-cancellation, the date had to be pushed back a few weeks. “Walk with Your Doc” is a provincial event that takes place from May 5-13, so the Port Alberni event had to be “restructured,” as Douglas put it.
The new community health fair will be called “Steps to Wellness” and will take place indoors at the Alberni Valley Multiplex (3737 Roger Street).
Island Health and local physicians are on board, but organizers are also hoping to branch out a little more in providing options for good health. Nutritionists will be involved, and organizers have reached out to Zumba and yoga instructors. Sandy McRuer will be in attendance to provide information about different hiking trails in the area. With CMHA on board, there will also be more emphasis on mental health.
“There’s been a tremendous show of support, from our perspective,” said Douglas. “We don’t want to let good events like this slip away.”
The event will take place on Tuesday, June 19 from 5-7 p.m. and will feature fitness demonstrations, community health booths, exercise equipment and free draws. Volunteers will also be available to demonstrate the Multiplex’s indoor, all-weather walking tracks.