Reflections on the 2nd Annual Walk for Talk

The idea of walks to support the NSDA is not a new one, but holding one that brings together the community, regardless of the location, is new. The inaugural Walk for Talk in 2020 was a creative response to the pandemic as a way to bring our community together when we could not gather in-person. Although we had no idea what to expect, the response was wonderful. People from seven countries and 42 states participated and we raised over $114,000, which was then doubled by matching pledges. So as we discussed hosting the Walk for Talk again this year, we wondered what the response would be. Was the first year just a fluke? Could we repeat that success? Well, our NSDA community did not let us down! The 2nd Annual Walk for Talk proved that a weekend dedicated to walking together as a community is a powerful force. It was an absolute joy to watch unfold

Some of the many highlights include:

  • We had the highest number of local support groups hosting in-person walks. In years past, the most we ever had was three individual groups doing ‘walk’ fundraisers and a few groups did emerge during the inaugural event. This year we exceeded the number of groups and had twelve Support Groups host walks and other groups participate in other ways. It was great to see so many of our support groups come together after such a long hiatus and include their family, friends, and pets! Also our Area Contact Leaders joined in too.
  • The Walk empowered individuals to make a difference. A quote from one walker says it all. “I’m embarrassed by the way I sound, but I know it educates people, so I will keep talking.” Hearing the voices of our community is the best educator there is, and people’s willingness to share their voice journey with their family and friends was so impactful.
  • We saw generations walking together including grandparents, children, and grandchildren. It opened the door for conversations as they met others living with a voice disorder and met the community that shared this same experience. It built a greater understanding and compassion for the challenges of living with voice disorders. It provided a chance for friends and family to step up for their loved ones whether it be flying to participate in a Walk, setting up a fundraiser, or donating because they are inspired by the efforts of their loved one.
  • Our international involvement exceeded last year with people participating in fourteen countries. It’s a testament to the universality of these voice disorders, and reinforces our goal to continue to embrace the world as an organization.
  • A new song, I Have a Voice, was written specially for the NSDA community by Wendy Garrison and Grace Askew, and was featured during the Walk. The song is a testament to the strength of people living with a voice disorder and the community that brings them together. As the song says, “I was never alone.”

Not only did we surpass this year’s goal of $75,000, but we also raised more than last year. We have received $122,663 in donations to support the NSDA. Those funds have been matched and doubled, so in fact, $245,326 was raised for the 2nd Annual Walk for Talk! So, this event is truly the G.O.A.T. (greatest of all time) for the NSDA. And we will be announcing the funding of a new research grant very soon with additional ones in the pipeline. Your generous support of the NSDA makes it possible for us to keep moving forward our Mission to improve the lives of people affected by SD and related voice disorders through research, education, awareness and support. Thank you all for your emphatic and generous support. We are proud of, and very grateful for, our voice community’s wonderful efforts!

No matter where you live, you can participate in the Walk for Talk!