10 benefits of taking part in Walk for Hope

If you’re still wondering whether Walk for Hope is for you, have a look through these ten benefits we’ve put together.

We hope they’ll encourage you to join us on our extra-special birthday year:

It’s a Covid-secure event

Although restrictions continue to ease, we know it’s still an anxious time for many. Maybe you’re itching to take part an event or come together with others again, but worry if it’s safe?

We know that many of our Walk for Hope participants will have, or are recovering from, cancer and so safety is our top priority. You’ll be outside in the fresh air for the whole event and there’s plenty of space to spread out so you don’t need to get too close to other walkers if you don’t want to. If you prefer, you can still Walk for Hope your way, from home.

It’s not a race

We created Walk for Hope so everyone feels like they’re on the same team. It’s not a race, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be competitive, if you want to! There’s a choice of five, ten or 20 miles so you can treat the event as a gentle stroll or really challenge yourself. Whatever your distance, you’ll feel a real sense of achievement when you cross the finishing line!

It’s an opportunity to be with nature

Spending time in green space and bringing nature into your everyday life can benefit both your mental and physical wellbeing. For example, it can improve your mood, reduce feelings of stress or anger, help you take time out and feel more relaxed. It can also improve your confidence and self-esteem. The peace and beauty of the New Forest make it a wonderful setting to benefit from the very best that nature provides. We’re so lucky to live in such a beautiful area, so why not choose one of the beautiful country parks, a riverside path or a coastal route to prepare for the event? We guarantee it won’t feel like training! To read more about the benefits of spending time in nature, please click here.

It can be whatever you want it to be!

Those who have taken part in Walk for Hope in the past tell us it’s always been a poignant event and it can be whatever you want it to be. Maybe you want to give hope to someone close to you who’s going through cancer treatment, or to celebrate their recovery? Or perhaps you want to walk to remember a loved one. Everyone has their own reason, and that means it’s your event. We think that’s super special!

It’s a great way to raise money to support local people who really need it

We ask that when you sign up, you pledge a minimum sponsorship target. Click here to find out what it is. All of this money goes towards supporting local people living with cancer. You’ll receive an official Walk for Hope t-shirt, sponsorship forms and all the training and information you’ll need for the day.

Covid-19 has been really tough, but we know cancer doesn’t stop and throughout the pandemic we’ve kept our services going for anyone who needs support. This is despite not being able to raise money by holding live events. Walk for Hope is our biggest fundraiser so it would be fantastic to see as many people as possible signing up. Let’s come together to raise as much money as we can to support people who really need it.

It’s a great way to raise awareness

Whatever your reason for taking part in Walk for Hope, by doing so you’ll also be raising awareness of the importance of supporting those living with cancer. Through your fundraising and at the actual event, you’ll be spreading the word about how Wessex Cancer Trust supports anyone living with cancer in Hampshire, Dorset and the Isle of Wight. It could be that someone who would really appreciate some support didn’t know about Wessex Cancer Trust until you signed up for Walk for Hope, and we think that’s something to be really proud of!

It can give you a focus

Philip Dinn walked ten miles as part of a group from New Forest Rotary at the virtual Walk for Hope in 2020. Philip was supported by our Waterside Support Centre after being diagnosed with a rare blood cancer. He says it gave him a focus:

“From experience I know that when you’re diagnosed with cancer it’s important to find something that can take you from your lowest ebb to being filled with hope for the future. Wessex Cancer Trust does that with the support it provides in its local communities, and the team has been working harder than ever to keep that support going throughout the pandemic. Taking part in Walk for Hope over the years has really helped me focus on getting well during my recovery period.”

Celebrate 40 years of local cancer care

We’ve been providing local cancer care since 1981 and there’s never been a better time to reflect on the difference our support has made to the lives of local people living with cancer, and to join us in our mission to ensure we continue to be here for everyone who needs us in the future. Walk for Hope is an opportunity to reflect, celebrate and give thanks in our special birthday year. There’ll be a 40th vibe at Walk for Hope this year and after being cheered over the finish line you’ll be presented with a medal and the opportunity to celebrate with a slice of 40th birthday cake! And if you’d like to dress up in 80s clothes to help celebrate our 40th birthday, we’d love that too!

Make new friends (if you want to!)

One of the things we’re proudest of is the sense of community we create at Wessex Cancer Trust. We know that cancer can be isolating, and so as a charity we try and create as many opportunities as possible for people to come together and support each other. If you feel a bit anxious about signing up to walk on your own, please don’t worry. We guarantee you’ll have the chance to meet other wonderful walkers who will keep you motivated as you complete your challenge.

We know that being alone doesn’t mean being lonely though, so if you sign up to walk on your own and prefer it that way, you’ll be guaranteed of plenty of space to just be with yourself and your own thoughts.

You can still get involved even if walking isn’t your thing

We’ve got plenty of volunteering opportunities – from laying out signage to handing out water and snacks. Our volunteers play a huge role in the success of our events, and volunteering is a fantastic way to gain new skills, give back to your local community and make a difference. It’s also really rewarding!