Thursday, March 6, 2014

Why I Walk

Recently, the MS Society asked me about my motivation for participation in the yearly MS Walk fundraisers.  They asked for a quote about “Why I Walk.”

At first, I struggled to answer because it was a high-fatigue day and I was barely able to get around the house and I wanted to be left alone.  I didn't have the energy to think about forming a team, doing fundraising, or recruiting walkers.  So really, why DO I organize a team and participate in the MS Walk, especially when every year in post-walk exhaustion I mutter "I'm not doing this again"?

Then I looked at the Wheeler’s Wobblers T-shirt, and the long list of sponsors
on the back.  I remembered how much fun it was when businesses asked me how they can help.  I looked at the pictures of our past teams, and remembered how people still speak about the fun they had at the last walk.  I remembered that these walks gave me the opportunity to meet my local Congressman (Earl Jaques (D-Glasgow) who is now on my team) and people from all over northern Delaware, people I would not have met otherwise.

So I wrote this:
"As a person with MS, it is easy to feel isolated.  Participating in the MS Walks gives me an opportunity to connect with others while doing something fun, and create lasting relationships in the process."  
I thought it sounded good at the time and would satisfy the request for a quote, then I’d go back to hibernating.

But this week, I realized how very, very, very true that statement is.  For a recent MS Awareness Week fundraiser for my walk team, I reserved a table at Ruby Tuesday, then put out the word that I would be there so come join me.  I was thrilled that eight people took me up on that offer.  As people from various parts of my life (church, book group, MS society, physical therapy) were talking to each other, I looked around and noticed that everyone was getting along and engaging in interesting conversations.  We might not have raised a huge bucket of money that night, but we had fun while creating lasting relationships. 

And that is why I walk.

If you want to join Wheeler’s Wobblers MS Walk team in Wilmington, Delaware, on April 12th, OR if you would like to support us with a tax-deductible donation, just click here:


 Our team motto is 
“Wheelers wobble but we don’t fall down thanks to YOUR support!”

2 comments:

climbingdownhill said...

This is a very worthwhile post to read and your quote is great!

Wes Garnett said...

Hi Joan, I LOVE this! I think it really shows the courage and sacrifice people living with MS make to participate in the walk events. This post and your quote is exactly what I see in my Mom (Michelle Garnett - we're from Delaware, too) as she struggles to complete walk every year. She never wants to give up. She says, "I'm not walking for me, I'm walking for people like me" ... it brings tears to my eyes every time I hear it (or say it myself).

One of the reasons I like the Walk events is that I get to see the family and friends that are connected to MS. In that way, I feel like I'm a part of a community as well. Every year I see friends that I didn't even know had a MS connection there. It's awesome!

Before I go, I'd be remiss not to mention that I've developed an application to help families battling MS to stay connected. The power of a team of people working together to support a loved one was the main motivation behind the project. I would love to get your feedback on it sometime.