2021 Gift of Life's DonateLife virtual Walk - Thank you !
Our Walk happened a little differently this time...
In 2021, unable to hold our 15th traditional Walk around Lake Burley Griffin due to COVID-19, we instead went virtual. We encouraged everyone in the ACT region and across Australia to take the next step during the week 22-28 February to organise their own walk up to 5 km anywhere, anytime in teams with family, friends or colleagues or as an individual. Our branded merchandise was worn to great effect.
Our aim is to raise awareness for organ and tissue donation, to encourage more people to register on the national organ donor register and to have the conversation with their families. We know that letting your family know your wishes can make a massive difference at a very difficult time.
On behalf of the Gift of Life Inc. Board, I would like to thank over 3000 people from the ACT region, Australia and overseas who signed up to walk. The support was incredible, I met some amazing people and heard many stories (mostly heart-warming and some heart-breaking).
In particular, I thank Federal Minister for Regional Health, Mark Coulton and ACT Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith for their funding support, their time and for sharing their stories.
We also received tremendous support from the Co-Chairs of the Parliamentary Friends of Organ and Tissue Donation Dr Anne Webster and Dr Mike Freelander, The Hon Mark Butler MP gave his support as did a number of other MPs and Senators. ACT Ministers giving their time and voices included Tara Cheyne and Emma Davidson.
I also sincerely thank Lucinda Barry CEO of the Organ and Tissue Authority, and the DonateLife, DonateLifeACT and Canberra Health Services teams who provided additional support and resources for all our activities during the week.
For a successful walk we relied on social media to start the conversations. Professional film makers Mick and Dom O'Donnell produced a series of video interviews of personal stories, messages of support and information on organ and tissue donation. They have their own personal story and volunteered their time and expertise. You can click on the links to the videos below (also hosted on our Facebook and Instagram pages.). Stand by for the final video of highlights of the week.
Participation from schools was again incredible. With personal connections and a long history of being involved in the Walk, St Clare's had 503 students participate, Merici students numbered over 300 and they hosted the 104.7 Ned and Josh breakfast program. Canberra Girls Grammar had 2 houses and over 250 students walk on their oval. We also welcomed enthusiastic involvement from St Mary MacKillop College (a year 11 initiative) and Daramalan College. We hope to build on our relationships with schools in coming years.
Of course all this wouldn't have been possible without our volunteer Board, especially our Walk Committee, Mallie, David, Nic, Graham, Clem and Geoff.
To help the team with social media and comms we brought in Monica from Big Bang Social, who did an amazing job.
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