Support Geoff on his fundraising page here. |
We sat down with our Victoria Walk Ambassador Geoff Hollefreund to chat about the upcoming Victoria Walk and what it means for him to be the Ambassador.
The Victoria Walk for Muscular Dystrophy is happening on May 7th 2017 at the University of Victoria. Geoff, started attending the Walk about 3 years ago, around a year after he got his diagnosis.
“My first walk… I wasn’t sure what to expect. Normally I like to stay in the background and not be front and center, but I was really impressed with how many people were there, and the effort, really amazing. For the people who supported me, I was so surprised by how many contributed to my cause.
Pleasantly surprised, I mean (laughs.) It was a very positive experience, I’m going to keep going for sure.”
Geoff recalls, “I remember coming away, very altruistic, is that the right word? It felt good to help people. And everyone there, so many people had a positive attitude, big smiles.”
When asked about why he got involved with the Walk for Muscular Dystrophy, Geoff responds seriously, “About 4 years ago, I had my diagnosis. And I’m very lucky. In fact, I’m pretty fortunate in that I’m fairly mobile. Muscular Dystrophy hasn’t been a significant impact on my life. But the Walk was a great opportunity to get involved and help others who aren’t as lucky.”
For Geoff, being the Ambassador is an opportunity to help others, to raise awareness and let people know that Muscular Dystrophy comes in many different forms and while he’s been fortunate, he wants to make help others whose conditions are more severe.
“That’s the thing; it’s not just one disease. You know, at my age, with my diagnosis, Muscular Dystrophy means I can’t go on long runs. I’m very lucky in that way. But with MD, you could be the only person in the world with your type, or you could be one of many. And it really impacts your life. It depends so much on the variability and severity of how it impacts that makes the biggest difference.”
For many, the Walk is an important way to raise awareness of that variability. When asked about how the Walk will impact his life and his family, he thoughtfully concludes: “You know, I don’t anticipate a direct benefit to my family, and that’s because there’s not a lot that I need, as I’ve said, I’ve been very lucky with my diagnosis. But we look at it as a way to give back and help others, when I think about it – I try to think positive. People get worried about me but I tell people I’m okay, I hope for a cure for the folks who are severely impacted. That’s my hope.”
That hope keeps Geoff coming back to the Walk each year. “Every walk is unique.” What moments does he treasure most? “Its people at the walk that I only see at the walk. Even friends and family, sometimes I only see them once a year at the walk. I have childhood friends there, collage friends, and people I work with. Its interesting see that dynamic of them all coming together to help. Especially the folks who come a long way to the island, just amazing they show that much support.”
And speaking of his networks, “it’s so positive. Like my friend Scott, he just decided to help, I didn’t ask him, but he just told me he’s doing it ‘and there’s nothing I can do to stop him!’ (Laughs.) And that shows what a great community we have.”
When asked what a first time attendee should expect at the Victoria Walk, Geoff thinks about it for a second before saying, “expect to have a great time. Honestly, everyone is so positive. We’re all there to help.”
Finally, this year we’re asking participants ‘Who will you walk for?’ and encouraging people to use the hashtag #whowillyouwalkfor?
When asked, Geoff says, “it may sound corny, but I’m going to walk for all those that can’t walk for themselves. It’s not specific person, it’s for the community. For the people who need help the most.”