We started walking the year my dad (Papa) was diagnosed with ALS. I had just found out I was pregnant with my first child. Papa said he would make it to see me become a parent. My dad was a man of his word!
My pregnancy was filled with celebrations like when we moved into our first home and decorated the nursery. But it was also filled with feelings of helplessness and grief as we watched as my dad slipped away. The day we found out that we were having a boy we also found out that my dad needed to have a feeding tube. The day we found out which day I would give birth, my dad was put on oxygen. The day my son came into this world was the last day my dad stood up on his own. ALS took so much from my dad and from my family.
My mom and I attended the caregiver support meetings at the VA Hospital while my dad had his ALS clinic days. It was during one of those support meetings that we heard about the Walk to Defeat ALS. We felt so helpless at the time we decided we should go. With each step we took, I felt the strength of the community of walkers wash over me, each person fighting the sometimes all too lonely battle of watching a loved one slip away, come together in unity for one cause - to raise awareness and support for one another. But most importantly, I felt HOPE. HOPE for a world without ALS. And that HOPE grew stronger with each step we took.
We have walked in rain, in extreme heat, in a variety of locations, always among family and friends, and often making new friends. Every year I am amazed by how many people I know who have somehow been affected by ALS. Every single step has been done out of love, with the feeling of community and with HOPE growing for a world without ALS.
This year it will 14 years of Walk to Defeat ALS events that we have completed. We will be making new shirts this year. If you would like to join our team, please let us know so we can get you a shirt. They are going to be the BOMB! If you can't join us for the walk, please consider donating to the ALS Association. Even the smallest amount makes a difference in the lives of the families affected by ALS and for continued research for a cure.
Hoping for a CURE in MY Lifetime, Walking for Awareness Today, Jen, Darren, Joey, Danica, Jackson, and Bailey