High heels for a cause

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September 3, 2015 8:15 AM

Lloydminster’s second Walk a Mile in Her Shoes charity walk to raise awareness of sexual violence is taking place on Sept. 19. Registration begins at 11 a.m. at The Root: Community Emporium on the day of the event. The walk starts at noon.

“For anyone who is new to participating in the Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event you can expect a fun-filled afternoon of food, music, foot rubs, beer gardens, and tons of prizes while also supporting a great cause and a much needed service in the community,” said Mandy Kratchmer, crisis interventionist at the Lloydminster Sexual Assault and Information Centre (LSAIC), in an email.

Started in 2001, Walk a Mile in Her Shoes is an international awareness campaign and fundraiser, which encourages men to wear high heel shoes in a symbolic show of support for victims of sexual crime. LSAIC organized the first Lloydmintser event in 2013 and plans to hold it every two years.

“Organizing the walk in 2013 was a whirlwind. There are so many little things that go into putting on an event like this, but at the end of the day it all came together and there was an amazing turn out,” Kratchmer said

“LSAIC did not have any expectations, we went into it just hoping to create awareness and get the community involved in a great cause. We exceeded anything we could have possibly imagined and the amount of community support that was shown was incredible.”

It its first year, about 120 people came out to the walk and raised approximately $50,000 in sponsorship and cash donations. Kratchmer says all proceeds from the walk go towards materials for one-on-one counselling, school presentations, maintaining the LSAIC 24-hour crisis line and group. Local businesses and communities have shown their support for the campaign.

“There are a number of local businesses and organizations who are involved in helping make this event a success,” Kratchmer said. “Without those businesses we would not be able to put on this event and more importantly we wouldn’t be able to offer the services we do to the community. Lloydminster has shown over the years that they value our services and are willing to go the extra mile to make these events possible.”

As for the men in high heels, Kratchmer says donning the fancy footwear garners a range of reactions from everyone involved.

“The most common reaction we have seen is laughter, however there is a great amount of respect shown towards those men for going out of their comfort zone to help make a difference,” she said.

“We know that both women and men can be affected by sexual violence and that is why we are encouraging all genders to participate in the walk.”

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