Put your feet where your heart is.
Storm Lake WalkAmerica will be held May 12, as a key fundraiser for the Siouxland division of the March of Dimes, dedicated to working against child birth defects and premature births.
The Storm Lake walk is one of only two such fundraising events held in northwest Iowa, the other being a walk in Sioux City. Last year's Storm Lake walk raised about $20,000; this year the goal is $24,000, but it can only be reached with great community involvement, says event planner Jill Wooster.
"We are making a special appeal to everyone to join us. And we would especially love to hear from families that have had a premature child or circumstances where services have helped them after a birth - come and get involved," she said.
Sponsor envelopes are available now at the Pilot-Tribune or KAYL radio, or individuals may sign up online at walkamerica.org and download a sponsor sign-up sheet to seek donations. Wooster said the March of Dimes would love to see a new record of well over 100 walkers for Storm Lake taking part.
Registration is at 8:30 a.m., the walk starts at 9 a.m. at Chautauqua Park. There will be doughnuts on hand for breakfast, a stretching exercise for walkers at the start, and Pizza Hut is providing pizza at the conclusion of the walk, and entertainment and children's games will be offered in the park.
Due to Project Awaysis construction, the route will run from Chautauqua Park west to Frank Starr Park and back this year, a route of about four miles. Participants may set their own pace. Several major employers in town offer teams. prizes are also available depending on the amount of donations collected.
Ryan Lundgren of Iowa Office Supply in Storm Lake will be the honorary chairman of this year's walk. He has issued a special challenge - the team that raises the most funds in the Storm Lake walk will get the use of the corporate box seats or up to 16 people to attend a special entertainment or sports event at Tyson Events Center.
Some of the schools have hosted speakers on the event, and Buena Vista university students have also joined the effort to recruit walkers.
"It might shock people to find that even today, one out of every eight babies is born prematurely," Wooster said of the reason behind the event. "It is always interesting to me to go to the schools and have so many kids raise their hands who know that they were born premature.
"We want everyone to come out to have a great time," she said, "but there is a serious need behind this effort as well, and I can't tell you how much we appreciate all the Storm Lake people and businesses who help make this possible every spring."
Anyone who is interested in joining the effort may also call 877-343-6101 if they would like more information. An Ambassador Family - a local family who has utilized the March of Dimes Services and who would be willing to share their story - is still being sought, and interested persons may contact Jill Wooster at 1-877-343-6101 or firstname.lastname@example.org