By the count of the American Red Cross-NMI Chapter, over 3,000 walkers swarmed the area near the 4H building in Susupe last Saturday to take part in the 2019 American Red Cross Walkathon, while other suggests a number closer to 3,500 participants.
The Red Cross signature fundraising event dwarfed the almost 2,000 walkers last year, according to ARC-NMI Chapter executive director John Hirsh.
“For sure there were 3,000 participants. You include all the parents who came out and brought their children, so there is over 3,000 people who came to the event,” Hirsh said.
He later clarified that the organization printed about 3,000 shirts for the event, all of which were sold. Costing $20 each, the organization raised a minimum of $60,000 in T-shirt sales alone, although the amount is still unconfirmed.
Hirsh noted that final tallies would conclude soon after.
“The money goes back to the island,” Hirsh said. “We use this money to help people who are burned out of their homes in the middle of the night and provide financial assistance for them; help build capacity for our volunteers and provide training for them; and we provide all the other services that the American Red Cross has, whether it is health and safety training, learning-to-swim programs, and more,” he said.
Most of the walkathon participants were students and their parents.
After the walkathon, the organization also held a health fair right next to the Guma Sakman in Susupe, which also acted as the walkathon’s starting point.
Services offered at the fair included blood pressure readings, educational activities, blood sugar readings, face painting booths, and many more activities.
Booths set up included the Northern Marianas College Nursing Club, the Marianas Health Services, Diabetes Coalition, Domestic Violence Coalition, and many more such as the Division of Public Health Services, Micronesia Islands Nature Alliance, and the Community Guidance Center, to name a few.
“[These organizations] knew that there would be several people here today, so this was a good opportunity for them to do their outreach,” he said.