A Reason To Walk – I Challenge Us To Move!

My name is Jenna Visscher. I am an artist, a blogger, and a community advocate for Ankylosing Spondylitis awareness and a health activist for research for a cure. I also develop community projects and speak about chronic illness and chronic pain.

After completing the “Art Apple A Day” project, I started thinking of what we could do next as a community that would help us be healthier and spread awareness at the same time and “Walk Your A.S. Off” was born!

Our friends and family often do not know how they can show us support. Walk events are wonderful, but they can also be intimidating and many of us know that the day of the event may arrive and on that day we are not well enough to participate.

We’ve all been there. We feel horrible and we feel like we are letting people down. But, if we walk at our own pace, when we are able, over time we will contribute and participate. Year one of Walk Your A.S. Off was a huge success. We met our goal of circling the globe in steps made in the name of Spondylitis. Collectively our 23 teams took over 63 million steps well over the number we were shooting for!

In 2013 we shot for the moon! The seemingly impossible goal of “WALKING to the moon” – a goal TEN times the size of the goal from the year before – and we DID IT! We collectively took 654,568,770 steps well over the approximate 478 million we needed or about 328,000 miles!

For our spring event we log the steps taken over two months. If one day it’s walking to the mailbox or simply to the bathroom that is fine, you logged and contributed those steps! If it gets you out of the house and walking down the block when you might not have had the reason to think of it – then BRAVO – you did something wonderful for yourself. If it gets your friends and family to see that AS affects all of us so differently – we have made real impactful strides. AS affects us differently because of age, progression of fusion, and even differently simply due to the day.

“Walk Your A.S. Off” is going to be FUN! Let’s get moving and get some teams together for this simple but powerful event.

I hope you’ll consider adding your steps to our challenge! If it’s 100 or 100,000 – we welcome your contribution. The steps are logged through our website (see this page), and the results are tallied in the grand finale on May 31st.

Here is a check list of what you can do today to be ready for the start of our spring event on May 1st.

What are your reasons to walk? Please make sure to share your progress, observations, and photos on the Facebook Wall.

Thank you so much for your interest and support in” Walk Your A.S. Off”!

Jennifer Dye Visscher 

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