Walk Your AS Off is a global community awareness campaign for Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS). And this year I will be taking part again, as I know will many of you. Last years WYASO was a phenomenal success, and this year is already looking to be a bigger success. With many Ankylosing Spondylitis charities and foundations signed up to participate this year, it has also gained the support of ASIF!! How fantastic is that? It just goes to show what an impact we had last year.
With less than a week to go until the start of the 2014 WYASO campaign, there is already a lot of information going on social network sites about it. Below I will give you the key pieces of information about WYASO. So whether you would like to know more about it, if you’ve already signed up, or are planning to; you will find what you need to know here. Of course all this information can be found in more detail on the WYASO website / social media pages, should you have the time to read further.
What is the Aim of Walk Your AS Off?
It is simple, to raise awareness amongst the general population of Ankylosing Spondylitis. More people in the UK suffer with AS than Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinsons combined. Yet most people have heard of these conditions, but have not heard of AS. This is not just a problem in the UK, this is a global problem. Raising awareness is a key component in helping patients get an earlier diagnosis, and better treatments.
An added benefit of taking part in WYASO is that it helps you to keep moving. Exercise is still the best way to help you AS (alongside appropriate medications). Even something that seem so innocuous — such as walking — has tremendous benefits to our health and well-being.
When does it start / end?
March 1st until World AS Day (May 3rd).
What do I need to do to get involved?
Its very simple, all you need to do is count how many steps you do each day. You can use a pedometer to do this, or you can count every mile as 2000 steps. All forms of exercise counts too! So if you swim, cycle, run / jog, or do any other form of exercise, you can add that towards your step count too. At the end of each week you submit your total to your team captain.
By the end of WYASO everyone’s steps will be added up. And with luck, we’ll have done enough steps to get to the Mars!!
Sound’s great! But what can I do to help with the campaign?
There are lots of ways you can get more involved, which of course is entirely optional.
The aim is to spread awareness, so anything you can think of to get it out there would be great. Social media is a great way of spreading the word, so something simple like telling all your friends on Facebook or Twitter will help much more than you might think. Want to do more? How about wear the official 2014 WYASO T-Shirt to the store? Maybe your local newspaper would run a story on you and the WYASO campaign? Or your local Radio station might like to interview you? How about putting a poster/flyer up in your church or work place? You are welcome to do anything you think of to help, as long as it’s legal of course. Check with your team to see if anyone is doing something, maybe you can help them?
Do we have to fund-raise / get sponsorship?
The main objective is awareness, so no; you do not need to fund-raise to participate. But if it is something you wish to do that is also fine. There is no ‘official’ WYASO charity to raise money for, as it is a global project. So if you do raise funds, then direct them to your local AS charity. Also check with your team, they may already have something planned for your local AS cause.
Where can I find more information?
If you are already signed up with a team then check out your team page. If not you can register with a team, or even start your own team here. They will keep you updated with ‘team news’, as well as individuals sharing their progress. It’s important we help ‘pick each other’ up when we are having bad days or flares. The team pages are perfect for just that, making people feel part of the community is what makes us strong!
Please leave a comment if you have any questions, or need me to point you in the right direction. Don’t be afraid to ask. If you want your question to remain more private then you can email me anytime.