Saturday, September 20, 2003


Back to Blogging, and Day 1 of the MS Challenge Walk

Trying to keep up with the promise to blog more frequently. The past week was jam-packed with busyness, though, and frankly, I've gotten out of the habit of blogging daily - takes effort now to remember to blog, whereas before it was almost automatic!

Right now I am recovering from Day 1 of the MS Challenge Walk. I'm not actually walking this year - I plan to next year, though. This year I didn't do so hot with the training program (and it's not a good idea to try and walk 50 miles in 3 days without some preparation), nor did I work the fundraising angle enough, and there's a substantial minimum fundraising goal. Instead, I am volunteering as a Chariot driver: I drive the route, looking for walkers in need of a ride. I also try and cheer people on. Today's walk was through Maple Grive and Fridley. The route was beautiful, and only a few people needed to be picked up and transported to a further point along the route.

Even though I didn't walk today, I am certainly recovering (nothing comparable to the walkers, though, who completed 21 miles today). I got up slightly after 4 AM and was on the go until about 6:30 or so this evening, when I finally sat down to an excellent dinner at the overnight spot. This evening's overnight is pretty close to my apartment, so I'm back here for the night, even though camping with everyone would have been fun. I have another 6 AM call tomorrow, and by returning home I get to shower in my own bathroom and sleep in my own bed, instead of using the locker room facilities at the health club serving as the overnight spot and sleeping on an air mattress on the floor of an indoor tennis court.

The Challenge Walk has, so far, been a wonderful experience. There are about 200 walkers on the route, plus volunteers, crew (where I fit into this whole thing), and MS Society staff. Everyone is there for compelling reasons - a family member or friend has MS, or they themselves do - and everyone is committed to having a good time while raising money to find a cure for Multiple Sclerosis. There was a great pep rally ths evening after dinner, complete with the cheer team from a local high school. The whole atmosphere is exhilerating and moving. AND a lot of money is being raised. One team raised $60,000.00, and a few individuals have raised over $10,000.00. How awesome is that?

Tomorrow morning looms frighteningly near, and I am in need of a nice, soothing hot shower before I hit the sack (and I, idealistically, perhaps, have convinced myself I'll do some reading for next week's classes before actually turning off the bedside lamp). Tomorrow night I'm definitely staying overnight with the rest of the participants, but at the moment, my own towels and pillows seem like the best things in the entire world.

OH - p.s. - one more cool thing about this all: I'm driving a brand-new full-size (read: conversion) van, complete with wheelchair lift. The vehicle kicks much butt, and after fourteen hours of driving it around windy residential streets and busy four-lane highways, I've pretty much adjusted to both its automatic transmission and its large size. Nevertheless, getting back behind the wheel of my clown-car stick-shift Hyundai Accent on Monday will be nice.

More Monday. Need sleep.

'night, everyone!

- posted by laurie @ 9/20/2003 07:29:00 PM
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