Photo from last year’s Darcy’s Nature Walk for Mental Wellness. Attendees were provided food and drink, face painting by Colour Crazy Body Art and prizes on June 11, 2022 in Bellevue. Nick Allen photo.
Nicholas L. M. Allen
Jun 7, 2023
All funds raised in 2023 will go towards the South Alberta Service Dogs Foundation.
The annual Darcy’s Nature Walk is set for June 10 at Fireman’s Park in Bellevue. The Registration and Waiver signing will be from 9:15 to 9:45 a.m. with the walk starting at 10 a.m.
Randi Lynn Rinaldi, an organizer for the event, explained how the walk got its name from her mother and is kept in her honour.
“It’s in memory of my mom who passed away from suicide in 2007. We’ve always kind of kept her name on it in her honor. The walk kind of represents who she was. She liked to be out in nature and she liked to help others,” said Rinaldi.
Darcy’s Nature Walk for Mental Wellness is a locally organized and hosted event which was designed to increase awareness around mental health and wellness, increase physical activity and help raise funds for local mental health initiatives.
“This is our 15th year doing the event and this year’s event is similar in nature to previous events as far as the focus on mental wellness and getting people out and being active, but this year it will be dedicated in memorial of Kris Ruzek, who passed away in September of 2022,” said Rinaldi
Since the walk is being held in special remembrance of Ruzek, his family wants the funds they raise to go to a special cause they think represents Ruzek.
“We thought it would be great to dedicate this walk in his name and hopefully it will resonate with a few additional people,” said Rinaldi.
All funds raised in 2023 will go towards the South Alberta Service Dogs Foundation in his memory.
“The funds raised will be held in his name and when somebody requires a service dog for mental health reasons, whether it be anxiety, depression [or] PTSD, if that person doesn’t have enough funds to purchase the service dog, then this money would be allocated to that individual in need. Kris loved dogs and he felt his dog helped him through a lot of things in his life,” explained Rinaldi.
She added it will be nice to have a fresh idea, although the walk itself will be the same. There will be three separate walking routes available to help accommodate a variety of fitness levels and abilities for the event.
“Our family went through some unfortunate deaths with suicide and dealing with mental illness, but knowing that we can give back to the Community and help others, makes it feel not so heavy,” said Rinaldi, “We’re overwhelmed that it’s always so well supported.”
If you don’t feel like you can walk or don’t want to walk, you are still welcome to join them in the park and enjoy the sunshine.
“There’s lots of door prizes, there’s snacks and it’s just a nice event to get out and see the energy of the community,” said Rinaldi.
Visit darcysnaturewalk.ca to learn more about the event or donate to one of the causes they support.