By Amanda Hatfield
BREVARD -- For nearly a quarter of a century, thousands of Brevard residents have put aside one Saturday in March to walk in a celebration of life.
Pregnancy Resources will be hosting its 23rd annual Walk for Life event on Saturday, March 16 at Gleason Park in Indian Harbour Beach.
"The Walk for Life is an annual fundraising event to support the work of Pregnancy Resources," said Shari Hoover, community relations manager for the organization.
Pregnancy Resources, a Brevard-based nonprofit organization, was founded in 1984 by Linda Evans after encountering several single women, who were struggling with the reality of unexpected pregnancy.
"My heart just went out to them. As we talked, the need for a place like Pregnancy Resources became clear," Mrs. Evans said. "A woman facing unexpected pregnancy deserves a professional, confidential and honest environment where the focus is on her."
Through Mrs. Evans beliefs and commitment, Pregnancy Resources was born.
"All of our programs have been in response to client needs," Mrs. Evans said. "One of the most important services we offer is a free ultrasound to confirm pregnancy and rule out tubal pregnancy, which can be crucial for a woman's health."
Although Pregnancy Resources is a community-based nonprofit agency, it is affiliated with Care Net, the largest professional association of pregnancy care centers in North America.
"Citing our excellent quality of care, Care Net has recognized Pregnancy Resources as one of the most effective centers in the nation," Mrs. Hoover said.
Participants for this year's event walk a two-mile course through Gleason Park, suitable for even strollers and wheelchairs.
"It's the perfect opportunity to gather a group of friends or co-workers for a relaxing two-mile walk," Mrs. Hoover said. "Refreshments will be provided and families are encouraged to bring their children to enjoy special activities."
Children of all ages can enjoy an inflatable slide, face-painting, and much more. Stations set up around the park will provide participants with more information about Pregnancy Resources.
"This year, walkers will receive a customized bracelet, and those who raise pledges of $200 or more will receive a Walk for Life t-shirt," Mrs. Hoover said. "A limited number of t-shirts will be available for purchase."
For those who cannot attend the 23rd annual Walk for Life, but still want to help, donations are encouraged.
"We're always accepting diapers and new or gently used baby necessities, especially baby furniture," Mrs. Hoover added.
After 29 years, Mrs. Evans is deeply grateful for all the community support Pregnancy Resources has received through the years. "It's so encouraging when former clients come back to show off their children and to volunteer and donate to Pregnancy Resources, too," Mrs. Evans said.
"Our programs strengthen families, which strengthens our community," Mrs. Evans added. "It's an investment with a wonderful return.
To register to walk or sponsor a walker, visit www.prwalkforlife.com. Click on "Participate" to create your own walker webpage to track and collect pledges online, or click "Give" to support a walker.
For printed walker pledge forms, contact Becky at (321) 725-5540.
Donations can also be mailed in by check to Pregnancy Resources, 165 N. Babcock Street, Melbourne, 32935.
Pregnancy Resources Baby Mart Resale Store is open to the public and all proceeds benefit the work of Pregnancy Resources. Item donations can be made to 165 N. Babcock St., Melbourne, Monday - Thursday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
For more information about Pregnancy Resources, visit www.melbournepri.com or call (321) 725-5540.