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a photo of firemans park in bellevue with a swing set on the left surrounded by an open green field and trees
Bellevue Fireman's Park | Facebook

Paws for a Purpose: Darcy’s Nature Walk Supports South Alberta Service Dogs

For 15 years, Darcy's Nature Walk has been a way for the community to come together, support each other, and make a difference

Get ready for the annual Darcy’s Nature Walk on June 10 at Fireman’s Park in Bellevue! Registration for the event is open from 9:15 to 9:45 AM, and the walk will start at 10 AM.

Darcy’s Nature Walk is an event organized by locals like Randi Lynn Rinaldi, to raise awareness about mental health and wellness, encourage physical activity, and raise funds for local mental health initiatives.

The walk is named after Darcy, Rinaldi’s mom, who passed away in 2007.

“We’ve always kind of kept her name on it in her honour. The walk kind of represents who she was. She liked to be out in nature, and she liked to help others,” Rinaldi told the Crowsnest Pass Herald

This year marks the 15th anniversary of the event, and it will be dedicated to Kris Ruzek, who passed away in September 2022.

a photo of a smiling kris ruzek with greenery in the background
Kris Ruze was born on May 30, 1977, and passed away on September 23, 2022, at the age of 45 | Tribute Archive

“We thought it would be great to dedicate this walk in his name, and hopefully, it will resonate with a few additional people,” said Rinaldi.

In remembrance of Ruzek, his family wants the funds from this year’s walk to go to a special cause that represents him. In this case, all funds raised in 2023 will go towards the South Alberta Service Dogs Foundation in his memory. 

According to Rinaldi, Kris loved dogs and felt his dog helped him through challenging moments in his life. 

“…if (someone) doesn’t have enough funds to purchase the service dog, then this money would be allocated to that individual in need,” explained Rinaldi.

The walk will follow the same format as previous years, but three different walking routes will accommodate various fitness levels and abilities.

Rinaldi mentioned that although her family has experienced unfortunate losses due to suicide and mental illness, being able to give back to the community and help others makes the burden feel a little lighter.

If you don’t feel like walking or prefer not to, you can still join the event at the park and enjoy the sunshine. There will be door prizes, snacks, and a chance to experience the positive energy of the community.

So mark your calendars for Darcy’s Nature Walk, a special event that promotes mental wellness, physical activity, and community support.

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