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Showing Their Stripes, Virtually

With large events cancelled, primary immunodeficiency patients, aka “zebras,” Zoom to complete the annual walks for PI.

Little girl dressed in zebra attire with a chalk sign that says We Are Brave

The Immune Deficiency Foundation didn’t cancel its annual Walk for PI this year, but the patient organization made some major adjustments due to the pandemic.

The Walk for PI is actually a series of walks in various cities across the United States. This year, instead of gathering in person, thousands of people gathered online in support of the PI community. More than 30 cities, including New York, Los Angeles, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Dallas, Miami, Chicago and Boston participated.

On walk day in each community, the IDF held a virtual pep rally through Zoom. The event included a morning stretch, a best-dressed zebra contest and a live DJ. Walkers then completed their walks in their own neighborhoods. Organizers said that even though the walkers weren’t together in person, their excitement shined through online, with participants dressing up, dancing and showing off their “zebra pride.”

Why do immune deficiency patients call themselves zebras? Find out.  

On December 15, participants will join together for an end-of-year celebration. Information on how to attend can be found on the IDF website.

According to IDF, what makes these walks special is that they emphasize a sense of community. It’s a time for anyone who is affected by PI to connect with others and remind themselves that they are not alone. That is why it was so important to continue these walks virtually, organizers said.

The tagline for this year’s walks was “COVID-19 can’t stop us.” Walk organizers say these events were an opportunity for people living with PI to show the world that their community keeps going, even in the worst of times.