Walk with members of the OCD and related disorders community across the nation this October at a One Million Steps for OCD Walk. Find a walk happening near you and embrace uncertainty one step at a time.
Join the International OCD Foundation and its official Affiliates this October for the One Million Steps for OCD Walk, where we join together to challenge stigma, raise funds, and create awareness about what it really means to have obsessive compulsive disorder. Continue reading below to hear from IOCDF Advocate, Hannah Zidansek, on why she began walking in her hometown in Pennsylvania over seven years ago and the story that inspired her to do so!
Why I Walk
By: Hannah Zidansek
I first read about Denis Asselin’s story in a 2013 edition of the OCD Newsletter. I was in awe at this father’s efforts to spread awareness for OCD in memory of his son. In June of 2012, he walked 500 miles to Boston— an estimated one million steps — to end stigma and raise awareness for his son who battled body dysmorphic disorder, a disorder related to OCD. The IOCDF continued Asselin’s tradition by hosting the first annual One Million Steps for OCD Walk held in Boston that next year.
For someone like me, who was struggling with this disorder to a debilitating degree and lived in isolation, the idea of publicly denouncing the shame that OCD instills was a liberating thought. I knew I had to be part of this movement any way that I could! At the time, my OCD prevented me from traveling far from home. Living in Pennsylvania, I knew I wanted to hold something in my own community so I was thankful to discover the IOCDF offered a grassroots option. The grassroots Community Walk allowed those unable to attend in Boston to participate on the official walk day wherever they were located. They even provided a nifty pedometer so you could convert your miles to steps!
On the day of the second annual OCD Walk in Boston in 2014, I gathered my friends and family in my small hometown in Pennsylvania for a grassroots walk. The following year, I held yet another grassroots walk in Pittsburgh. Fast forward to 2022, where there is now an official One Million Steps for OCD Walk in the city of Pittsburgh held annually and hosted by OCD Pennsylvania, an official Affiliate of the IOCDF. The culmination of grassroots efforts to form an official OCD Walk proves the strength of the OCD community — and that every step counts.
To know that this walk started with one man, Denis Asselin, and is now a bi-annual tradition held across communities and cities all over the nation, inspires me to keep walking for OCD.
The limitless power of this community is why I walk.
Click here to see a video montage of the grassroots Community Walk Hannah held in Pittsburgh back in 2015, sharing her experience and walking through her community with her family and friends.