Heidi’s Walk For Hope held in-person for first time, raises record $30,000

September 22, 2022   ·   0 Comments

By Sam Odrowski

In honour of victims of domestic violence, Heidi’s Walk for Hope returned to Orangeville in person on Sunday (Sept. 18) for the first time since the pandemic started.

The 5km walk, held at Island Lake Conservation Area, raised over $30,000 for Family Transition Place’s (FTP) programs and services, taking in more than double what was raised last year.

Roughly 200 people attended and heard from a variety of public speakers, shopped at vendors, ate at food trucks, and participated in yoga demonstrations.

FTP’s director of development and culture, Brennan Solecky, said the $30,000 raised from the walk will help with programs that are exclusively donor funded.

“Certainly, events like Heidi’s walk for hope allows us to continue with that programming and to improve our programming. But moreover, the event also allows us to raise much needed awareness of violence against women in our community, and the services and supports that exist if folks are experiencing violence, or if they’re experiencing homelessness,” said Solecky.

Heidi’s Walk, formerly known as the Ferguson Memorial Walk, is a way of honouring the life of Heidi Lee Ferguson (nee Bogner) who tragically died in 2009 from a domestic dispute with her estranged husband. The walk also raises awareness and aims to prevent future violence against women.

“It was originally conceptualized by the family of a woman who lost her life to domestic violence,” said Solecky. “But it’s truly in honor of all of the women who have lost their life to domestic violence in our community, and a way for us to continue to highlight that it very much exists, even in a small community like Orangeville.”

A survivor of domestic violence shared her story at the event and overall it was educational, in addition to being a great opportunity for friends and families to connect through a hike at Island Lake.

In terms of fundraising, FTP has to raise over $400,000 each year to support programs that aren’t covered by government funding, such as the youth education program that’s in every school across Dufferin County.

“That’s the hope arm of what we do,” said Solecky. “We’ve seen over 150,000 students since the program’s inception in 2001.”

The program teaches kids what healthy self-esteem and positive relationships look like, so they’re less likely to need FTP’s services when they grow older.

Heidi’s Walk for Hope had over 20 sponsors this year, and Go Yoga, the presenting sponsor, is running a raffle, with a week-long yoga retreat in Nosara, Costa Rica as the grand prize. Tickets can be purchased for $20 each at GoYoga (169 Broadway) or at FTP’s Orangeville office (20 Bredin Parkway) until 11 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 23.

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