Annual Gutsy Walk returns to Lake Ontario Park

Photo via Gutsy Walk website.

Canadians in Kingston and across the country will rally together on Sunday, Jun. 2, 2024, for the annual Gutsy Walk.

According to a release from Kingston Gutsy Walk, more than 4,600 Canadians, including members of the Kingston community, will show the 344,000 people in Canada living with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis that they are not alone.

“With a new diagnosis every 44 minutes in Canada, the need is more urgent than ever for the funds that our annual Gutsy Walk raises to allow Crohn’s and Colitis Canada to support programs and research – including research that offers realistic hope for cures,” the release reads.

According to organizers, Gutsy Walk, a family-friendly event, is the largest fundraiser for Crohn’s and Colitis Canada, aimed at raising $3+ million this year, while having raised $52 million since starting in 1996. Registered participants typically walk five kilometres, but any distance or activity on the day qualifies.

In all, 12,000 people are expected to be diagnosed this year, driven by rising numbers among children, particularly those up to the age of six, according to the release. Canada has among the highest rates of pediatric Crohn’s and colitis in the world.

Crohn’s and colitis cause the body to attack itself, inflaming the lining of the gastrointestinal tract and disrupting the body’s ability to digest food, absorb nutrients and eliminate waste in a healthy manner. They are lifelong diseases, often called invisible, as many people living with them look ‘normal’ while facing excruciating pain, exhaustion and other conditions, organizers noted.

“Crohn’s and colitis are lonely diseases, with stigma and isolation added onto the physical symptoms, which are painful and disruptive to daily life. Gutsy Walk is a time to celebrate our resilience as we come together to find a cure and improve the lives of those with Crohn’s and colitis,” said Melanie Fortner, Kingston Gutsy Walk Chair.

“This is also the 50th anniversary of Crohn’s and Colitis Canada, so we’re celebrating the remarkable impact and progress we’ve achieved.”

The Kingston Gutsy Walk will take place at Lake Ontario Park on Sunday, Jun. 2, 2024 at 10 a.m. Anyone can create a team of family, friends or colleagues, or walk individually. Learn more and sign up here.

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