The walk is an opportunity for people to learn more about the symptoms of Valley Fever, also known as coccidioidomycosis. People contract the disease by breathing in fungus spores that are endemic to Central California, as well as parts of Arizona and New México.
The walk is also a chance for people with the disease, and those who lost loved ones or pets to it, to connect and find support.
And it’s an opportunity for people to record their personal experiences with Valley Fever.
I will be joining Louis Amestoy of The Bakersfield Californian at the event to collect people’s stories in video, words, and photos. The stories will help put a compelling, human face on a disease that many people think is “a myth or a joke,” according to Sandra Larson, executive director of the Valley Fever Américas Foundation.
The stories will also become an essential component of an upcoming reporting project that results from a new venture, the Reporting On Health collaborative. The collaborative includes Vida, The Californian, The Merced Sun-Star, The Record in Stockton, Voice of OC, and ReportingonHealth.org.
The project is an initiative of the Health Journalism Fellowships at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communications and Journalism. It is made possible with the support of The California Endowment.
If you will be attending tomorrow’s walk, please visit us and share your story. If you can’t make it to the walk, but would like to share your experience with Valley Fever, leave me a note in the comments section below, or contact me at email@example.com.