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Virtual Walkathon raises money for special needs program

Posted at 8:23 AM, May 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-07 08:23:47-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- A group of young adults are getting outside and pounding the pavement to raise money for a new special needs program in Richmond.

It's part of a 14-day virtual walkathon that began Tuesday and will last until May 19. The goal is to gather pledges for a developing nonprofit called Nest Academy RVA.

The founder, Nora Carroll, said her son, Christopher, is one of the young adults participating.

Christopher has Cerebral Palsy, is blind, and has a wheel chair. But with a little help, Carroll said the 23-year-old can walk about five miles in a day.

Carroll said she had trouble finding a good post high-school program for him, and quickly realized there was a strong need in the Richmond community to provide support for individuals with significant needs like Christopher -- so they’re creating Nest Academy RVA.

In order to raise money for that program during the coronavirus pandemic, Christopher and some of his friends are walking, biking, or strolling, then posting their achievements online.

"Recording all those milestones and his achievements -- it's really fun to be able to share it, because a lot of friends and family don’t get to see the day-to-day activities like this," said Carroll. "So it’s been fun putting it on Facebook... each individual does their own contributions."

Carroll said on top of that, it has been a great way to encourage Christopher and his friends to get outside during the Covid-19 pandemic.

"The first week of COVID was very difficult, you know, all of a sudden all of his programs are gone. He’s not getting out of the house, he doesn’t understand about this virus, he just knows he’s not doing anything. And so trying to develop a program to keep him active was real important," Carroll said. "It gives people an opportunity to look forward to, 'hey how did they do today?' We’ve got 14 days of this walkathon, you know, 'what did Christopher do today?' It’s just a fun activity while we’re in this COVID environment."

After each daily walk, the young adults will post their accomplishments with a photo and gather pledges to raise money for the program.

Carroll said so far they’ve raised about $1800 dollars in pledges and their goal is $5,000 so they can start a pilot program in the fall.

She said anyone can participate in or donate to the walkathon. Those who would like to participate, can leave a comment on Nest Academy RVA Facebook page -- and begin sharing their daily walking achievements with their friends online.

If you would like to donate, click here.