On Saturday, around 100 people joined together at Pike Lake to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the RIKI Walkathon.
In 1968, SaskAbilities and the Riversdale Kiwanis Club joined together to raise funds for Camp Easter Seal.
“Our club was a new club. We were probably only five years old. We had decided that we needed to do something for the community and do something as a service club because that’s what the word means,” said Al Anderson, a founding member of the Kiwanis Club of Riversdale.
That’s when the club thought of a walkathon.
While organizers hoped for a couple hundred people to attend, the very first event saw over 4,000 walkers raise more than $40,000.
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“We were going to build one cabin at Camp Easter Seal. We built five,” explained Anderson.
Since then, more than $1 million has been raised to support the only completely barrier-free, fully wheelchair-accessible camp in the province.
“They’ve sponsored vehicles, they’ve purchased equipment for people to make things more accessible for them and they continue to provide support to Camp Easter Seal, including providing funding to actually send kids to go to camp,” said Karen Moore, the provincial services director of SaskAbilities.
While Anderson isn’t quite sure how the idea came about, he figures it was the first ever walkathon in Saskatchewan.
“How we ever came up with the idea of a walkathon, I have no idea,” laughed Anderson. “We had some lean years too, but we hung in there.”
On Saturday, around $30,000 was raised for Camp Easter Seal.
Each year approximately 800 children, youth, and adults with disabilities attend the camp.