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World Walk: Got Mother's Milk?

Mary Hurt
LLLI PR Associate
From: LEAVEN, Vol. 37 No.3, June-July 2001, p. 72

Imagine waking up tomorrow morning to a world where almost every baby is breastfed. It would be a world in which fewer children suffered from diabetes and lymphoma; a world in which the average child's IQ would be eight points higher; and a world in which fewer mothers suffered from breast cancer. It would be an ecologically and economically enhanced world in which mothers, babies, and ultimately the whole planet would benefit. The annual World Walk for Breastfeeding is helping to create this world.

The World Walk benefits La Leche League and breastfeeding at all levels. It helps Group Leaders achieve their goals of informing and supporting breastfeeding mothers. It helps the Area, Affiliates, and Divisions with their work in supporting Leaders, and it helps La Leche League International educate professionals, the public, and ultimately the world about the benefits of breastfeeding.

More Walkers than ever secured donations for last year's World Walk. For the first time in its ten-year history of the Walk, Walkers reached the goal of raising $300,000. Out of that sum, $120,000 went to Groups, $120,000 went to LLLI, and the rest benefited LLL Areas, Affiliates, and Divisions. Many Groups were also able to generate publicity around the event and as a result, many people who would not have heard about La Leche League were informed that help in available to mothers who want to breastfeed their babies. Almost without an exception, Groups reported the 2000 Walk as being a fun-filled event. LLLI is grateful to all of those who made the 2000 World Walk for Breastfeeding an outstanding success.

Now is the time to set your goals for the World Walk 2001. Successful fundraisers from past Walks often set goals such as having all Walkers be sponsored or raising a specific monetary amount. Many have received substantial donations from area hospitals, health care professionals, and local businesses. Some Groups had every Walker sponsored. Others used the helpful ideas from the Sponsor brochure included in the Walk Kit.

Many Leaders have found that an enthusiastic Group Member makes a wonderful walk chairman. There may be such a member in your Group at this very moment. Try brainstorming ideas at your next evaluation enrichment meeting and see who responds.

The benefits of breastfeeding reach far beyond your own baby or your local LLL Group. Many Leaders use the World Walk as an opportunity to educate the community about the global benefits of breastfeeding. They highlight how much money government programs save when mothers breastfeed and the implications for the environment. The publicity effort that many Groups have conducted is one way Walkers have helped inform the community about breastfeeding. Some Groups prepare packets of handouts for potential donors that outline the benefits of breastfeeding and describe the work of La Leche League. This serves a dual purpose. It informs people in the community about breastfeeding and it serves as a way of soliciting financial support.

We are looking forward to another successful Walk in 2001. This year's theme for World Breastfeeding Week, which is as always August 1-7, is Breastfeeding in the Information Age. We are optimistic that with everyone's hard work and effort, we will be able to reach our conunon goals again.

In order to help as many people participate as possible, this year's basic Walk Kit is free with only a shipping and handling charge of $5.00 (US). To register by phone call the LLLI Customer Service Department at 847-519-9585, or if you received a World Walk postcard, please complete the information and return it to LLLI. Together we can succeed again! How far will you walk to achieve this goal? Why not take the first step and register for the World Walk today?

The ultimate benefits will go to the additional mothers and babies you are able to help using funds and publicity from your local World Walk for Breastfeeding 2001.

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