The Big Country Anti-Violence Association (BCAVA) sixth Walk A Mile march shifted from an in-person walk to a month-long virtual event, which wrapped up on Friday, October 22, where participants were challenged to complete their own initiative.
A group from the Drumheller Health Centre, three individual car salesmen from local dealerships, and Dr. Rithesh Ram were among the participants signed up for the virtual event, with funds raised for the Alberta Association of Communities Against Abuse (AACAA) and the local, temporary emergency shelter, Colton’s Place.
“This year is a different dynamic with COVID,” says Jamie Worman, one of the participants of the virtual walk. “Usually you see a couple hundred guys in heels, dressed up, banging on drums.”
Worman has regularly participated in the Walk a Mile march and even got friends from beyond Drumheller involved during the last in-person event; this year he donned the red heels and walked around the Sunrise Auto dealership where he works.
He was unable to do as much fundraising as he would have liked this year, though says the most important part of the walk is the light it sheds on domestic violence and ending the social stigma around speaking out against it.
“Especially in small towns, you don’t hear much about domestic violence, and a lot of people suffer in silence,” Worman tells the Mail.
Dr. Rithesh Ram also donned the signature red heels.
This is Dr. Ram’s second Walk a Mile he has participated in, the first being pre-pandemic. He says the shift to a virtual event must have been “very challenging” for organizers to get the word out about the event and to raise funds for the cause.
As the only male in the office, he felt it was important to discuss among his staff at Riverside Medical Clinic how to challenge the event. For his challenge, Dr. Ram wore the red heels and a Walk a Mile t-shirt for an entire clinical day from 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m.
“The actual walk was easier,” Dr. Ram jokes, though adds it is all for a very important cause.
Dr. Ram shared the fundraiser over social media and also had a donation sheet available at the reception desk of his clinic, with all donations matched by him; in total, Dr. Ram raised $500 in donations for the Walk a Mile event.
Lacie Nairn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Drumheller Mail