By Felicity Fedoryka
The important part of the Walk for Life is not the walk itself.
Every year hundreds of men, women, and children gather in a small parking lot adjoining the back of the Front Royal Pregnancy Center for the annual Walk for Life. These people come from the local churches and schools, as well as not-so-local ones – there are contingents from several different counties, not just Warren County where the FRPC is located. The atmosphere is one of excitement and fun: music is playing, refreshments and coffee are being served, and small children are running around with balloons blown up by volunteers. Many walkers are wearing brightly colored Walk for Life t-shirts. The atmosphere is one of excitement and fun.
After the registration period ends, the socializing stops and representatives from the Front Royal Pregnancy Center mount a small stage and thank everyone for coming, give out raffle prizes, and give the attendees an update on what the center has achieved in the past year. Then the crowd processes out of the parking lot and walks down Main St. and back up again, the line of people cheering and waving at each other across the street as they pass. Once back at the center, the crowd disperses, parents buckle their kids into car seats, young adults walk back down Main St. to have brunch at one of the local diners, and the Walk is over for another year.
It is an impressive display of the support that a strong community can give to a cause, and a wonderful celebration of life and love. However, the most important part of the Walk is, ironically, not the Walk itself.
Behind the scenes of Walk Day are several months of intense work and preparation requiring hundreds of man-hours. The event itself is merely the culmination of the center’s biggest fundraiser, where dedicated individuals register as “walkers” and fundraise through getting friends, family, neighbors, or co-workers to donate to their page, similarly to crowdfunding sites such as GoFundMe.
Many local churches and schools promote the Walk to congregations and students, encouraging walkers to join as part of a team. As of 2018, around 20 different organizations promoted the Walk, including some from the neighboring towns and cities of Sperryville, Warrenton, and Winchester.
If you’ve been following the Front Royal Pregnancy Center on social media for any length of time, you’ve probably seen us posting about the Walk for Life and encouraging people to sign up as walkers. We encourage supporters to sign up as walkers not because we need a huge showing on the day of the Walk itself, but because every walker can reach a network of supporters through their personal acquaintances that is far beyond what we would be able to do on our own. Our best Walks have brought in up to $100,000, raised entirely by individuals who are passionate about our cause and are willing to share that passion with others.
This is also why we encourage people to sign up as walkers, rather than as sponsors alone, though of course we always appreciate sponsors too! As a sponsor, you can make a single donation to a page. As a walker, you can bring in hundreds of dollars from many sponsors, without spending a penny of your own.
If it sounds like I’m trying to sell you on the idea of signing up as a walker, you’re absolutely right. You can make a huge difference in the amount we raise this year, just by going to this link and clicking “Participate.” Sign up as a walker, share your page with your circle along with a few words about what we do and why you care about us, and see how much you can raise for us! And we’ll see you on Walk Day to participate in some of that fun and excitement.