STEPtember is a global initiative that runs from Sept 4th to Oct 1st, supporting cerebral palsy associations across the world through fitness. Participants are challenged to take 10,000 steps a day while at the same time, collecting donations from friends and family who support their hard work.
In only five short days, we’ve teamed up with 202 participants and raised $10,982.50. Thanks to all of our teams, we’re truly making a difference in the disability community in BC.
Chatting with Marco Pasqua
A few weeks ago, our Events & Development Coordinator, William Chiu, had a chance to speak with disability advocate, motivational speaker and entrepeneur, Marco Pasqua.
He’s extremely focused on making a social impact with each of his pursuits. At the end of 2014, Marco was nominated for BC Businesses “Top 30 under 30” awards and a Notable.ca Award in Personal Branding in 2016.
The Surrey-local took the time to dig into his life’s work, what inspires him and how these apply to the world-wide fundraiser.
WC: Let’s get right into it. What inspires you to reach out to your community every day?
MP: I remember what it was like for me and my family when I was younger. With my parents discovering my disability at an early age, there was a lot of fear there as they did not know where they could turn and who would be there to support them.
As I grew up, my parents found more and more organizations not giving a “hand-out” but a “hand-up” to support my development and to show us they’ll be able to help us out. We didn’t feel like a charity case and that’s why I love to give back because everybody has a story to tell, nobody is a charity case.
Sure, fundraising dollars is important for certain organizations but my “why” and why I’m living my “why” every single day and to give back in the same ways that my family was supported when I was a kid – that’s more important and something that you’ll never forget. I want to be the living embodiment of that thirty years later.
WC: What does STEPtember mean to you?
MP: STEPtember for me is so much more than just an arbitrary event — it’s a social and physical movement. Being able to showcase the capability of not only people with cerebral palsy, but also, the support given to my friends and family members. Being able to encapsulate that message by literally taking steps towards making a change and impact — it’s probably the best thing you can do. So I think raising awareness and putting urgency to action sums up what STEPtember means to me.
WC: Why are you passionate about contributing to CPABC and the STEPtember program?
MP: Being someone with cerebral palsy, being involved with these programs and advocating for change — has been really important to me my entire life. What better way to advocate than for an organization that is directly impacting the people who know what you’re going through. I love the fact that Cerebral Palsy Association is a grassroots organization. It’s not a larger organization or not-for-profit out there with many locations or offices. This means that the impact can directly reflect back to my community and that’s why it’s so important to me. Advocating for this showcases what I’m capable of doing and I hope that it will inspire other people with cerebral palsy to do the same and be active.
WC: How do you fulfill your fitness goals?
MP: STEPtember is a great reminder for me to maintain that fitness and keep it going forward. In fact, my wife said that this is a good opportunity to showcase what I was already doing and what I have been doing every day after work: using my stand up walker and walking down my hallway, strengthening my legs.
Even if I’m not directly representing a team, I look at it as I’m representing STEPtember as a whole and the Cerebral Palsy association of BC. So I put my money where my mouth is, my feet where they should be by walking down the hall. I’m excited about it because it gives me a new avenue to show to the general public, which I don’t usually showcase me using a walker, and share a video of it through my social channels. This is a good reason to do that, and obviously, the money goes back to the cause where I am very dedicated to.
WC: Do you have any tips on accessible recreation for those who might want to get involved in something like this?
MP: Well, I’d say that my number one tip would just be to just get started. Although you may not know of a recreational program within your local community center, I would advocate that everyone look for one and see what programs are offered.
If you can’t find one, don’t look at that as a barrier, look at that as an opportunity for you to do some of these activities in your home, like I do. This can be as simple as having some light weights around so you can do free weight exercises on your own, lifting your arm at your own capacity or lift your legs. You can also use resistance bands on a door knob and literally hang it against the door knob and use that to stretch.
Your physical environment around you is a giant piece of gym equipment, so don’t be discouraged if you don’t have a gym that accommodates you. You just sometimes have to be creative about the approach and know that the payoff is long term. It’s so great.
WC: Why do you think people should sign up for this program?
MP: I think having the goal of 10,000 steps a day — at the very least — puts an actual number value to exercise. Whether someone has said for years, “Oh I want to do more work on the treadmill or walk up the stairs”. Why not tie that back to a cause that’s literally asking you to take a step? So now you have the motivation behind you saying, “Hey, now I’m gonna take those steps.” I know for me there’s more value there because I’m doing it for myself, and my personal goals. I know that by doing it, I’m actually helping to support and raise money for charitable cause. For some people it’s the little extra push to say “Hey! Not only is this for me but also support for my peers.” I think that’s why people should sign up for STEPtember.
WC: What kind of advice/encouragement would you give to someone who’s on their way to start this STEPtember initiative?
MP: I would say start off with baby steps. If you think the goal of 10,000 is way too daunting, break it down to smaller chunks. And say to yourself, “Today I’m going to walk or step from the front door to the end of my street.” Take that as your win of the day. Next time, go from the end of your street to the corner store and so on and so forth. Some people look at large goals and they say there’s no way I can accomplish this. Let me give you a different example, say you want to write a book, if you only write a page a day, that’s 365 pages at the end of one year. That’s a full book right there. So if you relate that back to what you’re doing in STEPtember, take it one step at a time, be confident in yourself and know that if you don’t accomplish exactly what you’ve planned on the day-to-day, that’s okay. The fact that you bother to get up and try, that’s the first step right there. The fact you’re pushing yourself to do it, is what really counts. Even if you did half of what you set out to do, at least you got started…which is the hardest part.
Register for STEPtember for FREE today