Walk nears million dollar mark
Walk for a Healthy Community, an annual fund-raising walk, expects to increase its total over the past 10 year to more than $1 million.
On April 23, Highmark Blue Shield celebrated the company's 10th annual Walk for a Healthy Community at the Blue Event Center in Bethlehem Township.
Organizers expect this year's June walk in South Bethlehem to put the total money raised over the past 10 years at more than $1 million.
The celebration was to honor several of the non-profit organizations and volunteers that have helped make Highmark Blue Shield's charity support such a resounding success.
"In the previous nine walks combined, we had a total of 8,560 walkers raising $840,739 or almost $100 per participant," said Melinda "Mindy" Beck, director of client management at Highmark.
"If we raise just $160,000 this year – and we're confident we will – that will put us over the million dollar mark for the Lehigh Valley over a span of 10 years."
Beck said the money raised in the Lehigh Valley remains here and is used to support local organizations.
"The Highmark Walk for a Healthy Community provides a framework for charities to build relationships and raise funds," said event organizer Jodie L. Ruediger.
"Not all nonprofits have the staff, funds or other resources to host a walk event," she continued. "Each year we have 15-20 volunteers who help us to make the event possible."
"The Lehigh Valley is an amazing community," said Atiya Abdelmalik, director of community programs for Highmark Health. "Your walk began in 2005 with 350 walkers. But the growth in your walk – in terms of walkers and money raised – has been astounding."
Highmark BlueShield executives highlighted four organizations for special recognition: Center for Vision Loss represented by Karen Huetter; Meals on Wheels of Northampton County represented by JoAnn Nenow; Project of Easton represented by Janice Komisor; and Valley Search and Rescue represented by Diane Nickerson.
Among the attendees were Jessica Braskie, a resource coordinator with Child Care Information Services, and Lucinda Wright, an administrative assistant with Bright Futures Child Care.
Dorothy Clevenger, the owner-director of Bright Futures Child Care attended. Also attending were Sandra Thomas, director of development for Miller-Keystone Blood Services and Laura Robinson, a volunteer with Miller Keystone. Robinson, a Hellertown resident, is with the Bar Association of Lehigh Valley.