Last Year I Won!!!
Best individual T-shirt contest that is!
The slogan on the back of my Miraculous Strength T-shirt read:
"I may be walking slowly but I am lapping everyone on the couch."
That pretty much defines my journey. Slow but steady. As one of a handful of individuals who has completed the Door County Challenge Walk since its conception in 2008, I've learned that some of the nicest people are at the end of the route. However, that isn't totally true; the truth is some of the most amazing people you could ever hope to meet show up for three days of sore feet and blisters to support a cause they believe in.
I'd love to tell you after 7 years this 50 mile walk is more of a cakewalk. However, I would be lying... It isn't getting any easier. Each year I show up for the walk I wonder if I can really do it again. However, after finishing yet another fifty mile stroll, I find it more difficult to think about not committing to it again.
My Seventh Year - Walking 50 Miles Again, because
As many of you know, in 2008, I completed EVERY step of the inaugural 50 Mile MS Challenge Walk in Door County. Words simply cannot express what it feels like to complete a 50 mile walk. It was one of the most physically painful things I have ever done. Despite the pain, I left the Challenge Walk a changed person. I have returned every year since that first walk in 2008. Despite the sore muscles and days of rain, each year as I cross the finish line I seem to forget the pain and the rain, and only remember the emotional highs of a weekend surrounded by individuals who were walking for the same cause, a world free of MS. I can't tell you how many times I glance at our route map, recall the triumph and agony of those fifty mile weekends, and remember with respect the individuals who walked the 50 miles. Many were individuals who have been diagnosed with MS themselves. It was the walkers who were the last ones to reach the final finish line that were the true heroes of the past fifty mile walks.
I returned to the course again in 2009, 2010, 2011 2012 and 2013. I was one of the handfuls of individuals who have been committed to raising the mandatory $1500.00 to walk for each of the past seven years. After much thought and reflection, I have, made the commitment to dedicate one weekend this September, to walk 50 miles simply because "I CAN".
My Seventh Year and a $5,000 goal
Once again this year I walk for my daughter Breanna, my hero, who was diagnosed with MS at age 18. Breanna continues to walk the "MS Challenge Walk" every day of her life. She is one of the many reasons I cannot say no to doing this walk for the seventh time. I also walk in remembrance of my dear brother-in-law, Jeff Mayer, who passed way from complications of MS. Jeff lost his long time battle with MS at the age of 52 on Christmas Day, 2010, when he passed away at the Sharon S. Richardson Hospice. Jeff was a true hero also. He seldom complained and he was a fighter right up until the end.
I will also walk for my courageous cousins Luann and Ann who also suffer from MS. This year I also walk in respect of many of my patients who also bravely face a diagnosis of MS. I walk in respect of the many individuals affected with MS that I met the past seven years on the MS Challenge Walk. One only has to meet these individuals and see them in action to realize what true heroes they are.
Please Support Me Any Way You Can
I know, everyone has a cause. This year, just like many years in the past, has presented its own challenges, both financially and emotionally. I understand if you cannot make a monetary donation. However, I ask that you please pass this e-mail on to others who may be interested, and that you think of others who are affected with MS, and that you pray for the success of this walk.
Many would say this event is a challenge - undoubtedly they have NOT done this walk. Challenge isn't a word strong enough to describe every aspect of this event. It is a monumental event that is an opportunity - for everyone involved, participants and donors alike.
This September I will walk again, to bring awareness to this devastating disease that continues to take a toll on Breanna, Luann, Ann and others we love. I walk in their honor. I will walk in remembrance of Jeff. I will walk to raise money and awareness to make this a world free of MS.
Once again, I thank you for your past support. I continue to pray for each of my donors. Together, we have raised over $25,000 to fight MS. Even after the loss of Jeff, I Still Believe...