About the Walk
Who attends? Families, patients, nurses, therapists, doctors, volunteers and supporters. Patients often wear protective masks or come in strollers or wheelchairs, so it's comfortable and fun for everyone. Patients who have been discharged recently need to consult with their doctor in deciding if they can attend.
Current transplant inpatients can join in our special 5200 unit Walk, which normally happens about a month before the regular Walk. Look for signs and announcements on the unit in April.
Activities: There are carnival-type games and activities for kids of all ages; several area mascots stop by; a light breakfast and full lunch is provided; the Wall of Honor is available for viewing; and awards are presented for top fundraisers.
Walking and balloons: The highlight of the day is a slow and easy 5,200-yard walk around a track. The distance covered is in honor of unit 5200, the PBMT inpatient unit in Duke Hospital. We carry helium balloons while we walk, visit, talk, start and stop, and music dedications honor vital members of the PBMT team. At the end, everyone releases their balloons at the same time, and we watch them rise into the sky.
Fundraiser: Over $1.7 million has been raised since 2001. Many participants raise funds as part of their own Walk team (more about teams).
This is a special event and is often difficult to capture in words. A different sense of the Walk may be communicated in our words and images section.
In 1998, we decided to participate in the following year's Great Human Race. This is an event organized by the Volunteer Center of Durham through which non-profits from all over the North Carolina Triangle region raise funds together, with a small portion of the funds going to support the Volunteer Center.
On a cool Saturday in March, 1999, our first team of staff, nurses, doctors, families, and volunteers joined together to raise $12,704.51 -- the most of any group in the Great Human Race that year! We raised even more at the same event the following year.
After our second Great Human Race, we felt ready to start our own event. The first Rainbow of Heroes Walk took place on May 5, 2001. Since it began, our Walk has raised over $1.7 million for the Family Support Program.
While a blood or marrow transplant can save a child's life, it's a very difficult road for both the child and the family. Through the long inpatient and outpatient transplant process and the eventual return home from Duke, each step is easier when someone is there to offer support.
The Family Support Program (FSP) was created by the efforts of Duke PBMT families and staff who wanted to make sure this much-needed help would always be available to Duke PBMT families. We offer a comprehensive array of resources and services. More about us and our many programs can be found on our web site.
The Walk is organized by Family Support Program staff members and a committee of dedicated volunteers.
We also thank:
The wonderful organizations who sponsor us;
The Duke Center for Living who allow us to use their outdoor track for the Walk;
and our many eager volunteers who do everything from setting up tents, to checking in participants, to serving food, to cleanup.