We have just passed the halfway point at Day 50 of 99 Days to FASDay! I hope you are enjoying and learning from the tips, quotes and stats shared so far – and with 49 more days to go there is a lot more to cover.
I was going to wait until September 9 to share the story of FASDay, but then thought if people wanted to be inspired and organize something (no matter how small or large) planning time was required. I figured the halfway point would be a suitable time to do that as there are still 7 weeks to go!
So, exactly what is FASDay?
International FASD Awareness Day provides a focused opportunity for individuals, groups and communities to raise awareness about FASD, to pause, reflect and share a message of an alcohol-free pregnancy and prevention across the world.
2022 marks the 24th FASDay!
It all started one wintry day when Bonnie Buxton and her husband Brian Philcox were digging out their cars from a great Toronto (Ontario, Canada) snowstorm.
Buxton said, “What if, on the 9th minute of the 9th hour of the 9th day of the 9th month of the year 1999, we asked the world to remember that during the 9 months of pregnancy, a woman should remain alcohol free?
And, what if we also asked the world to remember those millions of people who will never fulfill their genetic potential, because of prenatal alcohol exposure? At this magic minute in history, could we begin to change the world?”
In One Magic Minute, Buxton, her husband and Teresa Kellerman changed the World when Australia 🇦🇺, Germany 🇩🇪 , Italy 🇮🇹 , South Africa 🇿🇦 , Sweden 🇸🇪 , and the United States of America 🇺🇸 joined Canada 🇨🇦 for the first International FAS Awareness Day: 1999/9/9 9:09 am.
The last known stats I could find are from 2014, when every province and territory in Canada, most states and DC in the USA, along with Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Sweden, Ireland, Northern Ireland, U.K., France, Netherlands, Germany, Lichtenstein, Uruguay, Japan and Taiwan participated. In fact, over 42 countries observed FASDay in every time zone around the world.
Although not updated recently, you can find historical information about the day and it’s founders, on the FASDay website.
From FASDay to Red Shoes Rock
As FASDay evolved into an International Movement from a meeting of a few, another event was created from a meeting of two individuals. You can check out the Facebook page for the international campaign called Red Shoes Rock which asks people to wear red shoes to raise awareness leading up to FASDay. This is a retrospective from one of the co-founders (and the inspiration for the red shoes): R.J. Formanek
The Red Shoes Rock grassroots group shares its artwork freely for us all to use on social media or for promotions. You can check out their website: Red Shoes Rock to find out more or access an Event Planning Guide.
Why do Red Shoes Rock for FASD? is a fan retrospective (2014-2022) of the Red Shoes Rock campaign.
International Awareness Available in Different Languages
If you are looking for an international awareness campaign with promotional materials available in English, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, German, Japanese, Slovenian, Polish, Czech or Turkish, you can check out Too Young To Drink. Although their webpage is not always updated, there is also a European FASD Alliance .
So what will you be doing September 9?
I started my participation in a small way in 2014, simply walking a kilometre a day in my red shoes and posting a picture on social media. In 2016 I had an amazing 9 day journey across Canada. I put on my red sneakers in Ontario on September 1 and arrived in B.C. on September 9. I traveled over 900 kilometres, through 5 provinces and 4 time zones wearing my red shoes and sharing my journey across Canada.
In 2017, I created the 99 Days to FASDay campaign for the international community, and from September 1-9, I shared personal reflections:
In 2018, I asked my local council to declare the day.
I did not have a local event to participate in, so I went to Ottawa with my daughter where we met with some other FASD advocates for the first annual Ottawa FASD Walk.
In 2019, my daughter (with my help) launched a Redbubble Shop to sell Red Shoes Rock swag. Each year she will donate a percentage of sales to an FASD organization. Out first year we donated to CanFASD, and last year it was Embraced / Red Shoes Rock alliance.
In 2019 a group of advocates came together to create an Ontario FASD Action Network to amplify and try to organize the concerns and needs of people in our province. The Executive met with the Minister of Community, Children and Social Services in August and brought forward an Action Plan. One small step they took immediately was to promote FASD awareness leading up to FASDay. Unfortunately OFAN is no longer active.
2020 and 2021 was different since in person gatherings were restricted in some areas. The Red Shoes Rock Team adapted and asked people to paint and hide Red Shoes rocks around the world. This is what we have done each year since.
Another event you can organize is to hold a Bell Concordance or A Minute of Reflection.
What’s happening around the world in 2022? The best way to find out what is happening in your part of the world is to contact your local or national FASD organization.
If you want to share what you are planning, feel free to comment below.
Check back tomorrow as we learn some historical facts about alcohol, pregnancy and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.