The annual Troy’s Trail Walk will be a virtual event again this year, on its 10th anniversary.
The walk is hosted by Troy’s Trail, an organization founded by Troy and Annette Chandler to raise funds for Hydrocephalus Canada, and awareness of hydrocephalus and spina bifida. The walk had to run virtually last year due to pandemic restrictions and it will be the same for 2021.
“Not exactly what we envisioned considering we are celebrating our 10th anniversary, but with government restrictions in place, we are doing everything we can to make the most of it,” Troy Chandler told Sault This Week.
The move to virtual does allow for more flexibility for participants.
“Do whatever you want, from wherever you are, near or far,” said Chandler. “Wear your colourful t-shirts, or make a sign highlighting a loved one, or who you are walking and showing support for.”
Chandler hopes those who complete the walk will take photos and videos showing their support for Troy’s Trail, sharing them on social media and posting them on the event’s Facebook page between now and June 19.
The walk had been regularly growing in numbers, starting with about 20 participants in 2012 and peaking at about 150 taking part in the 2019 walk. With the move to virtual last year, the number of participants dropped down to about 50, though it was still very successful and all had fun, Chandler said.
“We really don’t know who or how many people will participate this year,” added Chandler. “But we hope that with it being virtual it will open up the opportunity for more people out of town to take part. So I guess we will just have to wait and see. What we do know is that whoever does participate, and whatever we do raise, is very much appreciated.”
The Chandlers added an online auction to raise additional funds this year, recognizing the event’s special anniversary.
“We were able to receive some generous local business donations this year, and decided we would run a weekly auction beginning in June up to the time of the walk, with all proceeds going to Hydrocephalus Canada,” said Chandler.
So far, auction prizes have included a $100 Best Buy gift card and a $100 Station Mall gift card. The auctions are taking place in a Facebook group called “Troy’s Trail Auction.”
Troy’s Trail has raised more than $22,000 to date, for Hydrocephalus Canada.
“We feel very humbled as to what Troy’s Trail has become,” said Chandler. “It has far exceeded our expectations and it is making a difference. We have not only created a support group, we have made friendships to last a lifetime.”
When Troy and Annette started Troy’s Trail, they envisioned reaching out to others with hydrocephalus and spina bifida for support and to share their stories, but also those going through it for the first time so that they didn’t have to go through it alone, Chandler said.
“When I was diagnosed at 28, we had no clue what was going on and there wasn’t a local support group available for us to turn to,” he said.
They turned to Hydrocephalus Canada and with the support of that organization, they launched Troy’s Trail.
“On behalf of Troy’s Trail, Annette and I would like to extend our appreciation to our local businesses who helped make Troy’s Trail a success over the last 10 years,” said Chandler. “We couldn’t have done any of this without the support of our community. Thank you, Sault Ste. Marie!”