We got up bright and early on April 13th, ready to hit the streets to raise funds for MS research. It was a family reunion of sorts! My sister-in-law, Heidi, got there first with my niece, Kaitlin. My cousins Craig, Katie and Kelly were also on the team, along with Kelly’s husband Keith and their seven-month-old, Katelyn. Quinland had rounded up her friends Molly and Emma, too, so our official count was 10 walkers (and a stroller).
When you check in for the Walk, you are offered colored beads to wear: orange if you have a family member with MS, blue if you have a friend with MS, and purple if you have MS yourself. Instead of race numbers, there were piles of blank ones that said “I’m running for…” It was so amazing to have my friends and family around me and to see “LORI,” “My cousin Lori,” and “My Mom.” Mine said I was running for “MYSELF – and for a breakthrough in treatment for PPMS.”
In the chilly pre-race time, we nibbled on the granola bars and bananas that were so kindly provided by the race sponsors and passed baby Katelyn around from arm to arm. She is the most expressive baby, all big eyes and long eyelashes, and so cuddly!
The Walk, I must admit – and for this I am very thankful – was pretty much a Stroll. We MSers, while an intrepid lot, are not as a group known for being fleet of foot. I was very fleet of lips, though, as I got in some serious chatting time with my family along the way. They are – every one of them – AWESOME, and it kills me that we don’t see each other more. This. Must. Change. And now that I have proclaimed that to one and all, it shall.
I was the last of our team – of course – to cross the finish line. I have no idea what I am shouting, but by that point I was just feeling fantastic. Not physically – I think you can tell I was dragging the bad leg, and I felt pretty wonky for a few days – but I was hyped up.
We’ve already started strategizing for next year. We’ll get a more MS-appropriate name! We’ll wear costumes! Tutus! We’ll have balloons! Signs! I don’t know if we’ll do any or all of that, but it was fun to look at the other teams and see what they had come up with to promote themselves.
The most important thing to do, of course, is thank everyone who joined our team, everyone who donated to Walk MS on behalf of our team, and all those who volunteered to make the day such a success. (Look at those folks cheering me across the finish line! I’m sure they were cold, but they never missed a beat.) Thank you, thank you all!
xo – Lori