She Walks Canada Kicks doubles down with new 14,630 kms goal
Participants exceeded the seven-month goal of walking, biking, hiking 7,315 kilometers in just two months so organizers have doubled down with a new 14,630-kilometer goal.
SHE WALKS CANADA, the national movement to support women to live an alcohol reduced or alcohol free life, kicked off on January 24 with the goal of participants walking, biking, and hiking 7,315km in a virtual cross-Canada adventure. The program has been such a huge success in the first two months of the planned seven-month program, that organizers have doubled down and set a new goal of 14,630 kilometers.
More than a half million* women across Canada live with Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD).
“I am stunned and pleased at the success of SHE WALKS CANADA,” said program founder Lindsay Southerland Boal. “When we first envisioned the program we looked at the coast-to-coast distance across the country which is 7,315 kilometers and set that distance as our goal for women to participate by logging kilometers as they walked across Canada. As with just about everything, COVID impacted our plans to conduct a physical walk so we went virtual and things just exploded in terms of participation which includes walking, biking, hiking, virtually any activity that engages women to participate and become healthier in terms of reducing or eliminating alcohol consumption from their lives. So the natural thing to do was to double down on our goal and remain committed to helping women throughout the duration of the program which culminates on July 26.”
A mixture of physical activities, online meetings, and website support, SHE WALKS CANADA provides sober curious women and women in recovery, a safe conduit for confidential conversations about problematic drinking, plus access to a variety of resources about alcohol-reduced/alcohol free living, and an opportunity to join a private group to support one another and find a sober friend. In addition, there is the extended goal of a 14,630 km Canadian walk supporting the group’s goal to prioritize women’s physical and mental health.
Founded by Boal, a Canadian opera singer, television personality and actress, SHEWALKSCANADA.COM is a national movement to engage both sober curious and sober communities of women in or seeking an alcohol reduced or alcohol-free life.
“We are thrilled that the first two months of our seven-month program have been such a great success,” Boal said. “The reception and feedback we’ve received from participants is heartwarming and encouraging. Comments have ranged from,
- “My girlfriend Rachel woke up today 20 days sober! She kept telling me she didn’t think it was possible, up until I introduced her to She Walks Canada. She is sober and has her life back because of you…
- “You’re saving people’s lives.”
- “I didn’t think I could ever get sober. I didn’t think I would ever actually go to a ‘meeting.’ But I did. I haven’t had a drink in 3 weeks.”
- “My husband said the nicest thing: “Welcome back!” She Walks Canada is giving me my life back.
- “Today is my Day 1, Thank you”
She Walks Canada participants hail from all Canadian Provinces and Territories (and 17 USA States) with more women joining the movement each day.
“Our first two months have been a great success, but we encourage women throughout Canada who are seeking an alcohol reduced or alcohol-free life to participate in our seven-month virtual journey. It’s never too late to join our movement. We are here to listen and support you in whatever way helps. We understand. We care and we want to help,” Boal says reassuringly.
The 7,315 km cross Canada virtual walk, now doubled to 14,630 km, is a national movement to help women overcome Alcohol Use Disorder and provide resources to those who wish to become healthier, and slow down or stop drinking altogether.
Boal and her She Walks Canada support team have noticed a major social shift in sober awareness trends due to COVID, and sadly, the horrific war in Ukraine.
“There has been a significant change in how women living with AUD view sobriety, alcohol reduced or alcohol-free living during the pandemic, and now, sadly with the very real stresses and anxieties associated with the war in Ukraine,” Boal said. “First COVID and now the impact of the tragic war in Ukraine has literally thrown many women into a psychological tailspin, many women are simply tapped out. Many had the best intentions to make this year the one to slow down or quit drinking. We get it and we want everyone to know we are here. She Walks Canada recognizes that many of us drink to relax, cope with stress, or to give ourselves a break. We also recognize that the emotional weight we are carrying right now, the emotional weight of our children, worrying about family and friends and missing so many milestones. It’s an emotional and psychological mess,” she said. “We are a part of the support system to these women to empower them to find other more helpful and sustainable solutions during this challenging time.
“For me, I could not find a program that fit my needs,” Boal said. “So I walked – my first walk was two kilometers. I felt like a Rockstar. The longer I stayed sober, the longer I could walk. That really helped me and I was also comforted in new relationships I found in virtual meetings with women having the same experience. I knew I wasn’t alone. So together, with my new community, and walking kilometer after kilometer, I was growing the confidence and healthy outlook that I needed to acknowledge my Alcohol Use Disorder, and to begin to share my story. My journey, like everyone else seeking this kind of change, is unique. But one thing many women have in common is the desire to be healthy physically, mentally and spiritually.”
She Walks Canada Kicked off on January 24, 2022, Lindsay’s sober date, participants (those in sobriety, supporters of the movement and donors) can log the kilometers they walk, run, cycle, or move their bodies each day or week on the She Walks Canada website. Then, on a rotating basis, certified life and recovery coaches provide online group support, inspiration, and resources for participants. Anyone may also contribute to the fundraising campaign through the She Walks Canada Go Fund Me campaign.
The certified life coaches (facilitators) are helping women deal with countless challenges.
“Being a She Walks Canada facilitator has allowed me to create a safe space for discovery, community and healing for the women who participate in my weekly calls,” said Jillian Laudano, Intuitive Life Coach and Healer. “Together, we feel seen and heard. It is a truly beautiful space, and I am honored to be a part of this important movement.”
She Walks Canada was recently profiled on CTV Canada National and can be viewed at: SHE WALKS CANADA.
One of the participants, Heather, says, “Jillian’s weekly calls have been a breath of fresh air after a tough past few years. We have deep and meaningful conversations, and the group of women are so supportive of each other. She Walks Canada has had a really positive change in my life, and I am happy I joined.”
Shewalkscanada.com seeks to:
- Engage and empower women though supports groups and private conversations who simply know they are drinking too much; and for those women who seek help in recovery from Alcohol Use Disorder.
- Provide online support gatherings for women who are sober curious
- Provide engaging content to better understand problematic alcohol use
- Raise awareness for the variety of recovery and support options available
- Celebrate women who are thriving in the freedom and joy of sober living
- Build a strong support community within She Walks Canada
- Raise money to further develop She Walks Canada resources
- Enable supporters to register: shewalkscanadacom
- Provide postings, photos and updates from participants and supporters.
Originally trained as an actress and opera singer, equally at home in theatre, opera, musical theatre in both the English and German repertoire, Boal brings to her diverse work and play history a breadth of national and international experience.
As an opera singer and actor, Lindsay has been a guest artist with the Winnipeg Symphony, Symphony Nova Scotia, has sung with the Vancouver and Manitoba operas, Toronto’s Against the Grain Theatre and Loose Tea Music Theatre companies; she was part of the recurring cast of YTV’s television program Extreme Babysitting, and has given numerous cameo performances in Canadian unscripted television and commercials.
In her international work, Lindsay performed as a guest artist (opera) in several cities. Additionally, Lindsay held a Brand Ambassador position in China.
Building on that experience, she joined the Urban Outline Building Group team in Toronto where she led the rebranding of the organization. Within this role she has expanded the company’s exposure, cultivated new partner relationships, developed the organization’s community outreach initiatives, enhanced its growth through social media platforms, and assisted the president and team in fulfilling the company’s goal to build outstanding workspaces.
Lindsay is a certified life coach specializing in strategic one-on-one empowerment and legacy coaching, a podcast host and producer (The COVID Chronicles Canada, The Last Hangover), an amateur long-distance athlete, and a passionate advocate for women’s physical and mental health.
Lindsay earned a Diploma in Music Performance from Kwantlen Polytechnic University (formerly Kwantlen University), a Bachelor of Music in Performance from Brandon University, an Artist Diploma from The Vancouver Academy of Music, completed post-graduate studies at the University of Manitoba, completed summer opera programs at the Banff Centre for the Arts and Creativity, the Janáček Academy of Music and Performing Arts (Czech Republic), Weimar Opern Studio (Germany), Casalmaggiore International Festival of Opera and Song (Italy) and at the Cabaret Conference at Yale University, and a graduate of the Jay Shetty Certification School.
SHE WALKS CANADA is a personal mission to give back to the community that helped Lindsay as she moved through the early stages of her sobriety. During this journey Lindsay learned new things about herself, one of which is, she loves to walk.
“I can’t express enough thanks to my team who is working hard behind the scenes and to those who have financially supported SHE WALKS CANADA through our Go Fund Me campaign,” Boal said. “But most of all, thank you to the women with whom we have walked, do walk, and will walk in the future. We can, do, and will recover. Together,” Boal believes
*Alcohol Use Disorder is a chronic disease characterized by uncontrolled dependence on alcohol. It can include periods of alcohol intoxication and symptoms of withdrawal. (Very common, more than 500,000 cases per year in Canada). Source: Focus Medica.