The Toddle Waddle could be the cutest fundraising walking event ever. This yearly walking is a spectacle unlike any other. Why? Because it is aimed at parents and children under five.
Watching the Toddle Waddle, you’ll undoubtedly see some children confidently strolling along. However, you’ll also witness cute younger ones barely toddling alongside their strollers. It’s all for good fun, not to mention an excellent cause: raising money for meningitis awareness.
History of Toddle Waddle
Toddle Waddle organizers wanted to create additional awareness about meningitis. Meningitis is a swelling of the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord.
The history of meningitis dates back to ancient times. The famous Greek philosopher and doctor Hippocrates appears to have noted the first case of meningitis. While historians can’t pinpoint the precise date of the discovery, Hippocrates lived between 460 B.C. and 370 B.C.
The next important innovations arrived during the 1800s. That was when French and English physicians coined the term ‘meningitis.’ That term combined ‘meninges,’ the brain’s lining, and ‘itis,’ describing the inflammatory nature of the disease.
The first widespread meningitis outbreak was in Geneva in 1805. Soon after, the world saw outbreaks across Europe and the United States. Africa experienced its first pandemic in 1840. With no effective treatment, these outbreaks had deadly effects. In 1906, a breakthrough came – anti-meningococcal serum therapy.
The 20th century brought with it a few more treatment advancements. One advancement was the introduction of penicillin in 1944 and the development of Haemophilus vaccines in the late 20th century. These medical advancements significantly reduced meningitis cases caused by specific pathogens.
The Meningitis Trust was formed in the United Kingdom in 1986. The agency hoped to make larger steps forward in the fight against meningitis. This organization later merged with Meningitis U.K. in 2013, forming today’s Meningitis Now. The group organizes the annual Toddle Waddle.
How to Celebrate Toddle Waddle
Celebrating Toddle Waddle means community engagement to combat a serious health issue. But for the kids who participate, it’s just walking and having fun. Here are some ideas to participate, even for those who don’t live in the United Kingdom:
Organize or Join a Toddle Waddle Walk in Your Community
Do you provide child care or have a Meetup group for toddler parents? Then you are a prime candidate to organize or join a Toddle Waddle event. But what’s involved? First, you’ll choose a location.
Good spots may include a park, an athletic track, or a large backyard. The distance doesn’t have to be long. It’s the participation that counts.
Encourage children to dress up in fun costumes or their favorite outfits. Invite anyone with small children to make a small donation to participate. Every step taken at your Toddle Waddle is a step to fight meningitis.
Use this day to educate both your participants and spectators about meningitis. You can create informative posters or distribute flyers.
You might also invite a speaker to discuss the importance of meningitis research and prevention. Knowledge is power, and spreading awareness is a key part of Toddle Waddle.
Virtual participation is a fantastic option for those who can’t jet over to the UK to the main Toddle Waddle event.
- Organize a virtual walk
- Ask walkers to share their toddling videos online
- Use the main event’s hashtag #ToddleWaddle to connect everyone’s efforts on social media.
This way, even those at home can be part of this global effort.
Fundraising is the main point of the Toddle Waddle. Participants can seek sponsors for their walk and donate the proceeds to meningitis research.
They might also choose to send it for support for affected families. Walking’s not quite your thing? You might also consider having a raffle or auction to support this cause.
Set up crafting stations. Invite the children who participate to make arts and crafts related to the theme. They could make hats, banners, or even little waddle feet to take home. These activities add to the fun. But they also keep the children busy and informed about the cause.
Celebrate with Music and Dance
What’s a waddle without some music and dance? Have a small area where children can dance to their favorite tunes. You could even have a ‘waddle dance’ competition to add to the excitement.
Encourage participants to share their stories or experiences with meningitis. This personal touch can be powerful in understanding the impact of the disease and the importance of the fight against it.
Toddle Waddle is an event for education and meningitis awareness. But the walking event wraps it up in a show of community spirit.
Whether you’re toddling along on a track or waddling in your living room, every step brings us closer to a world free of meningitis. It’s time to waddle together for a good cause!