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BEST FOOT FORWARD: Walkers take up causes
new slt sunflower walkamile signin
Mary Lou Warren, left, helps people sign up for an afternoon of walking, Sunday at Veterans Memorial Park in Great Bend. Sunflower Diversified Services organized Walk A Mile in My Shoes as part of a statewide awareness campaign on behalf of people with developmental disabilities. - photo by Susan Thacker/Great Bend Tribune



More than 40 people hit the walking trail at Veterans Memorial Park on Sunday for "Walk a Mile in My Shoes," promoting awareness of the more than 4,500 adults and children with developmental disabilities who are on waiting lists for services.

Advocacy coordinator Mary Lou Warren with Sunflower Diversified Services said Sunday’s walk was part of a statewide effort for people to collectively walk around the world — 24,902 miles. People added to their totals Sunday as they walked, ran or rolled one or more laps around the lake.

The effort on behalf of people with developmental disabilities isn’t the only walking event going on this spring, and some people have confused "Walk a Mile in My Shoes" with an event coming up on April 30, "Walk a Mile in Her Shoes," for the Family Crisis Center. That walk around Jack Kilby Square will be part of the International Men’s March to Stop Rape, Sexual Assault and Gender Violence. Unlike last Sunday’s walk, which was free, the April 30 event is also a fundraiser. Another difference: Participants in the April 30 event will be teams of men walking in high heels.

"Teams of four will ‘put themselves in her shoes’ — literally — to show their commitment to stopping sexual assault and domestic violence," said Laura Patzner, executive director of the Family Crisis Center. The team with the fastest time wins, and additional prizes will be awarded for Best Dressed, Most Graceful and Most Likely to Turn an Ankle. There is a $200 entry fee per team of four men. For more information or to register, contact the Family Crisis Center, 2008 11th St. in Great Bend; telephone 620-793-9941 or e-mail

Meanwhile, people are still logging miles for "Walk a Mile in My Shoes," and the cause of people with developmental disabilities. To participate, pick up a packet at one of the Sunflower Diversified Services offices, at 8823 4th or 1521 K-96. Log the miles you walk, run or roll and report them by April 26.

On April 27, the Walk a Mile in My Shoes: Walk Around the World campaign will culminate at the Push Day Rally on the lawn of the Kansas State Capitol.

Another walking event going on now is Walk Kansas, a Kansas State University Extension fitness challenge coordinated locally by the Barton County Extension and Great Bend Recreation Commission. Those who registered six-person teams are half-way through the program as they attempt to reach a goal of walking either 423 miles — the distance across Kansas — or 1,200 miles — the distance around the perimeter of the state. The Recreation Commission has scheduled a walk/pep rally for 12:30 p.m. today, starting with a short motivational presentation at the northeast shelter in Brit Spaugh Park. The presentation will be repeated at 1 p.m.