The Quesnel Tillicum Society is hosting the 15th Annual Ringing of the Bells and Awareness Walk for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) on Sunday, Sept. 9.
Charlene Vankoughnett, the Fetal Alcohol and Drug Effects Co-ordinator with the Tillicum Society, has organized every walk since the first one 15 years ago.
“FASD is a leading preventable cause of mental retardation,” explains Vankoughnett. “And it is caused only when a mom drinks during pregnancy.”
Her hope is the awareness of the disorder people gain from the walk will help lower the number of incidents of FASD within the community. She also hopes anyone who hears about or sees the walk, who is unfamiliar with the disorder, will feel encouraged to look into it on their own.
The walk will begin at St. John’s Anglican Church on Kinchant Street with the ringing of the bells at 9:09 a.m. on Sunday. Participants are encouraged to arrive anytime between 8:30 a.m. and 9:09 a.m. to have some coffee or a donut before they go. Participants will also receive an FASD dream catcher in celebration of the walk’s 15th anniversary.
In the past, Vankoughnett says more than 150 people have taken part in the walk — but the number varies from year to year.
The walk will end at the Tillicum Society Friendship Centre, where there will be entertainers and a pancake breakfast.
Local service providers are also encouraged to get in touch with Vankoughnett to set up booths about the services they provide for those affected by FASD at the end of the walk.