(Palmetto, FL)—Southeastern Guide Dogs goes to great lengths to keep its human and canine family safe and healthy at all times. That is why, with an abundance of caution in dealing with the risks posed by the coronavirus, the remaining Walkathon fundraising events scheduled for March, April and May will not take place in their respective locations. To protect the people and pets who would have participated in these large group events, the organization has switched to a Virtual Walkathon model it is calling “location changes.”
The locations and dates that are cancelled and replaced by a virtual experience are:
- St. Petersburg, March 21, North Straub Park
- Gainesville, April 4, Tioga Town Center
- Emerald Coast, April 4, Spanish Trail Park
- Orlando, April 11, Cranes Roost Park
- Fort Myers, April 18, jetBlue Park
- Tampa, May 2, Al Lopez Park
Walkathon is Southeastern Guide Dogs’ largest fundraiser of the year and is relied upon to bring in more than one million dollars annually to fund the organization’s mission. The organization accepts no government funding and depends 100% on private donations and grants to provide its life-changing guide and service dogs to the people who need them—at no charge. Due to unforeseen economic challenges tied to the coronavirus pandemic, the monies raised by thousands of individual Walkathon team members is critical this year, more than ever.
That is why the remaining Walkathons are not being cancelled entirely. Instead, participants are encouraged to make a location change and go virtual.
“At 10 am on the day of the Walkathon for which you are registered, join in the virtual experience,” says Walkathon Director Jennifer Bryant. “Whether you are walking on a treadmill, walking in your neighborhood, or even in your living room, put on your walking shoes, leash up your dog and walk your paws for the cause.”
Walkathon’s virtual participants are encouraged to take a photo or video, tag Southeastern Guide Dogs on social media, and share, so everyone can join in the fun. The raffle drawing and fundraising incentive items for the different levels of donations will still be provided as planned.
The social media handles for Southeastern Guide Dogs are:
“So, keep fundraising, keep sharing your page on social media, and keep your walking shoes handy,” Bryant says. “While we can’t all walk together, with your help, our graduates will never walk alone.”
More information on Walkathon can be found at: guidedogs.org/walkathon
About Southeastern Guide Dogs
Southeastern Guide Dogs transforms lives by creating and nurturing extraordinary partnerships between people and dogs. Our organization operates the most advanced training facilities of any service dog organization in the world. Our experts breed, raise, and train elite working dogs—including guide dogs, service dogs, and skilled companion dogs—and provide life-changing services for people with vision loss, veterans with disabilities, and children with significant challenges such as vision loss or the loss of a parent in the military. Pursuing our mission since 1982, Southeastern Guide Dogs now has over 1,200 dogs under our auspices. All of our services—which include selective breeding and expert dog training; comprehensive on-campus student instruction; and the most robust alumni support program in North America—are provided at no cost to recipients. We rely 100% on private donations and receive no government funding. Southeastern Guide Dogs has the distinction of being dually accredited by the two premier, global accreditation bodies: the International Guide Dog Federation and Assistance Dogs International. Learn more at www.GuideDogs.org.