Highmark walk scheduled

Event intended to energize community

The 17th annual Highmark Walk for a Healthy Community, consisting of six fundraising walks throughout Penn­sylvania, plus one in Delaware, is set for Saturday — and for the first time, one of them will take place in Altoona.

The walks benefit local, participating non-profits with a health or human service focus, generally those without the wherewithal to hold their own single-purpose fundraising walks, according to Brandon Berns, senior community affairs analyst at Highmark.

Those non-profits can piggyback on Highmark, as the organization coordinates the walks and covers all costs, including logistics, software and permits, so there’s no overhead connected with the money they raise for themselves, according to Berns.

The Johnstown/Altoona walk will take place at Peoples Natural Gas Field, with registration starting at 7:45 a.m., remarks and instructions at 8:30 a.m., and the walk itself from 9 until 10 or 10:30 a.m., according to a Highmark news release.

Walkers can do 1K or 5K, according to the Highmark walk website. The entirety of both walks will take place on the baseball field, according to the news release.

The Highmark website for the event includes “microsites” for participating non-profits, which they can use as a base to raise money through donations by credit or debit cards, while also instructing viewers where to send checks, Berns indicated.

There is a “Walker donation form” on the website to encourage those who plan to attend to make pledges.

Donations can be made at booths that the non-profits will staff at the walk, according to Berns.

Participating local non-profits are: Alleghenies United Cerebral Palsy; the Alternative Community Resource Program; Camp Harmony; the Epilepsy Association of Western and Central Pennsylvania; High­lands Health (the Johnstown Free Medical Clinic); Junior Achieve­ment of Western Pennsylvania; the Society of St. Vincent de Paul Food for Families program; The Children’s Aid Home Programs of Somerset County; United Methodist Human Services; and Victim Services Inc., according to the Highmark walk website.

While walkers can donate to any of them, they aren’t obligated to do so, according to Berns.

There is no entry fee for walkers, according to Highmark spokeswoman Krista Lardieri.

Highmark expects about 500 walkers at the ballpark, based on preregistrations, according to Berns.

The target for the local event is $80,000, according to the news release.

About $23,000 has been raised so far, according to the website.

Fundraising will continue through June 28.

Last year’s Johns­town/Altoona walk raised $56,000, according to the website.

In addition to helping non-profits raise money, the event is intended to energize the community “to lead healthier, more active lifestyles,” according to the news release.

Highmark is already taking applications from non-profits that want to participate in next year’s walk, according to Berns.

Mirror Staff Writer William Kibler is at 949-7038.