In support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Travel Professionals International (TPI) has launched a fundraising campaign called the TPI Walktober Challenge.
Each day, participants complete a set number of steps, which moves them along a pre-set map that starts in Victoria, BC, and ends in St. John’s, NL.
As they participate in fun activities along the way, TPI advisors and staff are documenting their journey on social media using the hashtag #TPIWalktoberChallenge.
Here, PAX checks in with TPI advisor Sherri Lavigne of Greater Sudbury, ON, to learn more about her participation, and progress, in the challenge!
PAX: Why was it important for you to get involved in TPI’s Walktober Challenge in support of the Breast Cancer Society of Canada?
Sherri Lavigne (SL): I’ve been trying to turn my lifestyle into a healthy one – and failing miserably at it. So when the TPI Walktober Challenge was announced, and we were walking to raise money for breast cancer, this was a great motivator for me to strap on my running shoes. A while ago, my hairdresser, Sue, was diagnosed with breast cancer, and she tried to keep doing hair for a while, but it was taking a toll. When she called and told me she was taking a year off, and that I should look for someone to look after my hair, I reassured her that I will wait until she returns, so when she beat cancer, she could cut my hair off and colour my hair dark brown (like she had wanted to do for several years). A year later, I was sitting in her chair and she cut my long hair (above my shoulders) and coloured it dark brown — as promised! My mom passed two years ago from cancer (not breast cancer), but when she was diagnosed, I went to Sue and she cut off my hair again (more than 15 inches) and I donated it to a charity that makes wigs for children.
PAX: Where are you getting your steps in?
SL: For some strange reason, I get up at around 6:00 every morning, struggle to get into my “sausage casing” (some people refer to them as spandex) and I walk for a minimum of one hour on my treadmill! In the afternoon, I will walk in a circle in my backyard to film my Facebook progress video — if it’s raining, I am sitting in my sunroom, complaining about how cold it is outside and update on where I am headed that day.
PAX: What are some goals you hope to achieve throughout this campaign?
SL: As a group, we’re trying to raise $10,000 for the Breast Cancer Society of Canada, so in my Facebook progress graphics, I ask people to donate what they can, as every dollar counts, and provide links to the donation page. I’ve also reached out to friends and family and have asked them to share my Facebook promos/videos and ask their friends/family to donate. Every morning, I share my morning Walktober experience with my fellow TPI-ers on our group Facebook page. I bring my sense of humour to help take their minds off the muscle aches that some of us are feeling. Sharing a laugh with my TPI family during this joint adventure has made the “way-to-early” mornings enjoyable!
PAX: How have you gotten your clients involved?
SL: To make this virtual walk more interesting for my clients, friends and family, I have created a Virtual Diary on my website. I write about the cities we are walking to and have written as I was writing it in my diary. I use my bitmoji cartoons, along with photos from the areas I’m “visiting.” Sometimes I combine the two together to create the feel I want to achieve with these virtual diaries — provide information about the location/excursion, as well as bring the person reading it a laugh!
PAX: Travel and fundraising are two things that go really well together. Why do you think this is?
SL: I’ve had clients who’ve had winning bids from fundraisers, receiving gift certificates or travel vouchers for hotels/flights, and I find it is just the beginning of their adventure. They are so excited that they’ve won the bid, but when you start helping them plan their trip — it just takes it to a whole new level of excitement for them! It’s taking the amount they donated and providing them with an experience they will always remember!
PAX: What have you learned about yourself, and the travel industry, during this fundraising campaign?
SL: Spandex is not my friend and getting in 10,000 steps takes a lot of walking and causes very unhappy feet! All kidding aside, I’m enjoying the research into the different stops, and providing the travel information in my virtual diary, which will benefit my clients. And Canada is a pretty interesting place — and I need to see more of it (besides the virtual version of it). I also learned that with my TPI family, we can get it done — and that we have an amazing support system! Looking forward to Oct. 31st to raise a virtual glass of wine with the rest of the TPI crew…and rest my poor little piggies!
Stay tuned as PAX brings you more updates from the #TPIWalktoberChallenge all month long! Industry colleagues can access the official step tracking form for the challenge here and the campaign's official guidebook can be found here.
To make a donation to the #TPIWalktoberChallenge, click here.
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