O2 Green Walk


Hiking miles through nature trails might not be the typical way to spend a Saturday afternoon, but that’s exactly what UNF student Susan Wright plans to do.

Wright’s 7-year-old daughter Emily has asthma.

Although her family tries to live as normal of a life as possible, Emily constantly has coughing attacks and has to bring her medicine with her everywhere she goes.

Wright, a senior nursing major, will join hundreds of Jacksonville residents Oct. 25 at the Robert W. Loftin Nature Trails on the UNF campus to participate in the inaugural O2 Green Walk

The goal of the event is to raise awareness for lung disease and support the efforts of the American Lung Association, Wright said.

“It’s a perfect opportunity to make people aware of lung disease and get a little exercise,” she said. “It’s a win-win situation and awesome opportunity to get people on campus and allow the students to interact with the community.”

The theme of the walk is “live green, breathe clean,” something Emily and her family strive for daily, Wright said.

Asthma and other lung diseases are reaching epidemic levels on the First Coast, and while the cause is still unknown, recent studies indicate the quality of air and increased usage of chemicals can greatly exacerbate lung-related illnesses, said Kara Rosario, development manager for the American Lung Association of Florida.

Organizers are expecting 400 participants for the walk and have already raised more than $36,000 with hopes to raise $90,000 from the event.

“We really rely on the funds we raise for the programs [to be] put into the community,” Rosario said. “This year we adopted a green theme to help promote a cleaner environment.”

Rosario, a UNF alumna, said there has been a very strong student response so far, with several UNF fraternities and sororities already signed up to volunteer.

“It’s been great having all of the support, especially from people who are familiar with the university,” she said.

“The nature trails are something a lot of people don’t know about, and it’s a really beautiful area.”

Participants must pay a $20 tax-deductible donation to register, and prizes will be awarded to hikers who raise more than $100.

The registration fee will be waived for participants with the last name “Green” and children younger than 12, Rosario said.

“I think it’s wonderful because the money raised will stay here and support local families,” Wright said.

As part of the event, The American Lung Association has also partnered with Best Buy to promote electronics recycling.

Members of the public will be invited to drop-off their unwanted electronics for safe and proper recycling and processing.

Rosario said this will help keep dangerous materials out of the environment.

E-mail Josh Salman at [email protected]