The GBS/CIDP Foundation International will host the inaugural Walk and Roll event at Lakes Park in Fort Myers , at 10 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 8.
This event will be the first Walk and Roll event for the state of Florida. Major cities, such as New York City, Boston and Philadelphia, have hosted this event for the foundation.
Guillain-Barré Syndrome and chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy are neurological disorders in which the immune system attacks the nerve cells, which causes muscle weakness and fatigue. People who are diagnosed with either of these disorders have difficulty walking and are sometimes paralyzed. Both are rare diseases many people don’t know about. About 1,800 people are affected in the state of Florida.
Kristin Vaughn, a former FGCU student, was diagnosed with CIDP last year. After attending a Walk and Roll event in Dallas, Vaughn was inspired to bring the event to the Southwest Florida area.
“This is my passion project,” Vaughn said. “I really wanted to bring this event to this area.”
The Walk and Roll event is free for people to attend and take part in, but the foundation is accepting donations. Two weeks prior to the event, the foundation had already raised $5,000 online.
“We are seeking donations for the foundation, but most importantly, we want people to donate their time and attend the walk,” Vaughn said. “It makes people more aware when they attend the event.”
The event allows people who do and do not have GBS or CIDP to walk or roll. People who are paralyzed can roll and people who can partially or completely walk on their own can either walk or roll the one-mile track.
“We try to make the walks accessible for everyone and would like to see as many people at Lakes Park this November as possible,” said Santo Garcia, the board president of the GBS/ CIDP Foundation International and a Fort Myers resident diagnosed with CIDP. “Organize a team or just come by yourself. You won’t be alone. Come walk for those who can’t.”
After the Walk and Roll, there will be an after party hosted at Lakes Park.
Vaughn hopes to make this an annual event, depending on the turnout and feedback.
The foundation is looking for volunteers who do not want to walk or roll to help set up, work the event and clean up.
To register for the event, visit http://walkandroll.kintera.org/faf/home/default.asp?ievent=1147951. For more information on volunteering, email Santo Garcia at [email protected]