By Cindy Starr
Despite fierce political headwinds and the COVID-19 pandemic, Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio Region has remained steadfast in its mission to provide essential reproductive healthcare and education to those in the region. It has risen above ongoing challenges to patient access, legislative uncertainties, and the interference posed by the continually mutating COVID-19 virus.
“It’s been a tough time for reproductive access and healthcare,” said Maya McKenzie, Planned Parenthood’s Media Relations Coordinator. “But in spite of it all, as an organization we continue to find a way to fight for our patients and make sure people have access and are able to make decisions for themselves in the best way they can.”
Throughout the month of June, Planned Parenthood invites supporters and donors to help it continue its mission by taking part in Unstoppable, a wellness- and movement-focused fundraiser. Unlike formal walks or runs, Unstoppable allows participants to create their own “move-a-thon” event, which can involve activities ranging from yoga to gardening to walking to biking. Participants create their own fundraising portal and collect pledges from friends and family for each minute of activity they engage in. Donors can give online or by mail.
“Participants set their own pace,” McKenzie said. “They can register themselves and start raising money as they move. It’s movement-based, but accessible. Just like Planned Parenthood, Unstoppable is for every person and for every body.”
As a debuting project last year, Unstoppable raised more than $30,000 with the help of 200 participants. This year Planned Parenthood hopes to attract additional participants from its constituent base, which extends from Dayton to Northern Kentucky, and raise $45,000.
Funds raised will support patient care and education. For example:
- $100 can fund an annual exam that includes cervical cancer screening and a breast exam for one person.
- $500 can provide a year of birth control for approximately five people.
- $1,000 can pay for two days of virtual training for six educators.
Unstoppable gets underway June 1 with a kickoff event in Dayton, Ohio. Additional in-person events – all optional – will include mindful meditation, yoga in the park, pup walks with “yappy hour,” and even an opportunity for dancing. All minutes spent at these events count toward a participant’s movement goal.
Researchers have shown over and over that physical exercise can elevate mood. And at the heart of Unstoppable, McKenzie acknowledged, is the sobering reality that the past few years have been extraordinarily difficult for organizations that provide reproductive healthcare, as well as for the patients who need access to them.
“Planned Parenthood wants to make sure that our constituents and donors feel heard and seen,” McKenzie said. “We want to keep the momentum going. We’re in a long fight and need every hand on deck. Times are tough. There is a lot going on. People are worried about what lies ahead, about future access to reproductive healthcare in Ohio and Kentucky. And while we need to be impassioned, we also need to lean into each other and find joy in what we’re doing.”
Planned Parenthood has provided reproductive healthcare to patients for 93 years. “We want to care for our patients for years and years to come,” McKenzie said. “We’re here today, and we’d like to be here in 100 years. We’ll never stop fighting. But support is what makes us Unstoppable.”
This content sponsored by Planned Parenthood of SW Ohio