The 19th Annual Sophia Walk saw the number of registrants more than double this year than in previous years, making it the largest Sophia Walk since the event’s conception.
Last Saturday, nearly 600 individuals in the community came out to participate in the 19th Sophia Walk that was organized by Fiesta Resort & Spa Saipan.
According to Fiesta Resort Saipan general manager Wendi Herring, the Sophia Walk usually sees about 50 to 100 participants yearly. This year, Fiesta strove to reach at least 500 participants, with the money raised going to the CHC Volunteers Association, a group of volunteers at the hospital.
“We started planning earlier this year …this year, we set the goal at 500 because we really wanted to raise as much money as we can for our hospital volunteers,” Herring said.
Not only was the goal met, but it was surpassed as nearly 600 individuals signed up for the event.
“We are really happy with the turnout,” Herring said.
The Sophia Walk was first started by former CNMI first lady Sophia Tenorio, initially intended to bring together Japanese tourists and residents of Saipan to walk together and get to know each other’s culture. The purpose of the event has since changed.
Herring recounted that Tenorio met with TanHoldings Corp. president Jerry Tan this year, during which she expressed an interest in making the walk “to be something bigger and more special.”
“Because [Tenorio] visits the hospital frequently, she noticed that there are some needs by the hospital so she discussed it with [Commonwealth Health Care Corp.] volunteers and said she wanted to do this fundraiser for the hospital and its volunteers, so we can raise some funds to maybe spruce up the rooms or do other things to improve our hospital,” Herring said.
According to Tenorio herself, the event turned out to be greater than she imagined. She was nearly moved to tears as she tried to express her gratefulness to the Tan Siu Lin Foundation, the TanHoldings group of companies, other major sponsors, and especially the community for sharing her vision to further improve the state of the CNMI’s hospital.
This year’s Sophia Walk highlight was the awarding of the Best Hat among the hundreds of unique, handmade hats created in the spirit of Sophia Walk.
Over $5,000 was raised during the Sophia Walk event last Saturday; the exact amount will be announced later.