A letter from the President

Published: Feb. 16, 2019

Dear Fellow A.S. Warriors,

I know many of you were saddened to hear that Jennifer Visscher was stepping down as the President of Walk AS One. We know how you feel, and we already miss her greatly. She has been a force for good in this world, and I know you’ll join me in thanking her for her service to the A.S. community over the last 10+ years.

I wanted to write to you to assure you that the mission goes on. Walk AS One will still move forward and continue to fulfill our mission statement:

Walk AS One mobilizes and motivates a global community to raise awareness and address the challenges of everyone affected by Ankylosing Spondylitis and its family of related diseases.

On the 12th of July, 2018, the board of directors voted unanimously for me to be Jenna’s successor. I have already started pushing on to make sure we can achieve our two main goals for the next 12 months. These two goals are:

  1. Make Walk Your AS Off 2019 the biggest yet. With a website overhaul and new features that allow us to use our time more effectively helping to raise awareness in the general populous.
  2. Continue to strengthen our relationship with the global A.S. community. Not least of all with many of the international A.S. charities that serve the same people that we do. We are in this together. As far as I’m concerned, there are no ‘competitors.’ This is not a zero-sum game. We can achieve more if we work together, of that I am sure.

Some Context...

For the first Walk Your AS Off in 2012, we had the goal of walking 1 millionsteps together. We crushed it, walking 63,978,087 steps. We then aimed for the Moon. And again we crushed it with 10 times the amount of steps than the year before. Since then, as you hopefully know, we’ve been aiming for Mars. By the end of this years WYASO we had reached an amazing 2,226,679,650 steps. Yes, you read that correctly, it’s over 2.2 billion!

So how many do we need to reach Mars if we’re not there yet with 2.2 billion steps?

Well, Mars is between 34.68 million miles and 248.8 million miles away, depending on when you measure, because of its orbit. The average is 158 million miles. We count 2000 steps per mile in Walk Your AS Off. 158 million multiplied by 2000 = 316,000,000,000 steps (or 316 billion).

So you can see, even though we have come so far already, we still have a long way to go. I’m not pointing this out to discourage you. In fact, the opposite is true. It is my hope that this challenge encourages you, more than ever. Walk AS One is just as motivated and dedicated as ever in the pursuit of our goal! We want to share that journey with you.

Next time you see Jenna, give her a hug and thank her for her hard work. If you want to know how you can get involved with an invigorated Walk AS One, or you have an idea how we can make next years WYASO even better, you can contact me directly on ricky.white@walkasone.org.

I’m looking forward to serving you as the new President of Walk AS One, and look forward to hearing all your feedback.

Happy Walking,

Ricky White
President of Walk AS One