"Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal.” ~Henry Ford
"So I Close in Saying That I May Have Had a Bad Break, But I Have an Awful Lot To Live For."
~ Lou Gehrig
I’ve always wanted to do “A Walk”. Sadly, there are so many these days: AIDS Walk, Race For The Cure, Relay for Life…the list goes on. While there is definitely palpable sadness that so many are afflicted, it is bittersweet because walking for a cause is surprisingly empowering.
Besides helping fund research, The Walk To Defeat ALS helps raise awareness, promote advocacy and provide patient care. It keeps up all positively moving forward towards cures and better tomorrows. We walk in memory of those who Never Gave Up and fought a gallant fight till the end. We walk for all the people still fighting to live.
I had never walked for a cause, and the opportunity presented itself when vivacious, Amy Paffrath tweeted about how she was going to walk in honor of her father, Mark Paffrath, who had died of ALS. I immediately decided that I wanted to make a difference and walk for those who cannot and I DID!! [huge, beaming smile on my face]
This past Sunday, October 23rd, 2011, I participated in the LA Walk to Defeat ALS!!
One of my favorite TV shows is Criminal Minds. Their most recent episode featured one of the main characters coming to grips with the fact that his ex-wife—whom he had never stopped loving—had just shared the grim news with him that she had been diagnosed with ALS, and was now asking him to help her as her health was starting to drastically decline.
Then, there was a distant cousin on my father’s side who wrote us back to tell us how very near and dear the Walk to Defeat ALS was to her and her family. She shared:
“I held my Aunt Carol’s hand when she died of ALS eleven years ago. She was surrounded by family; I think there were 18 of us in the room. She was 54, my mother’s youngest sister. Your cause hits home.”
I knew The Universe, God, The Powers That Be—whatever you want to call it—wanted me to do this walk. I had found my cause to walk for.
At first, I was discouraged because I know times are hard; the economy is bad—donations were trickling in slowly. Some days I had no donations. In fact, for a while there, I had zero. I kind of started to feel like a failure. I wondered if I would have to go door-to-door asking for donations—déjà vu of my days when I was a Brownie in The Girl Scouts. Would it really come to that?
Then, on October 17th, I got home from work to find that my beloved friends and my LaLa Land family had rallied and donated enough for me to reach my goal of $250!!
I was so completely surprised and in awe of my generous friends. I am grateful to you all. You have such great, big hearts: Cathy Kittredge, Dana Patrick, Katie Sawyer, Laurie Sweeting, Tim & Kathleen Moran-Otto, Vince Melocchi, Vito Viscuso and Miss Anonymous ;) (wink! wink)
And the donations kept coming!! I surpassed my goal by $100 to raise $350 for ALS!
On walk day when I signed in, I was awarded several things starting off with an ALS “Hope, Live, Walk” t-shirt since I had raised more than $75, and I also got to wear a special silver sticker for raising $250, or more. (The little girl in me delighted in my shiny, silver sticker award.)
That silver sticker was a ticket to fun! It gave me entry into the “V.I.F.” section, which stood for “Very Important Fundraisers”. At first, I was embarrassed. Who me?! I didn’t do anything all that important. With the encouragement of my boyfriend, I allowed myself to be overjoyed and beamed with pride.
In the special section, there were vendors who had donated their services and treats including: various candies, mini cupcakes and truffles by Yummy Cupcakes of Burbank, massage therapy by Michelle Rozzen, and stylists putting in hair feather extensions.
I got a fabulous shoulder and neck massage from Michelle Rozzen, whose father had died of ALS. Michelle was there, honoring him, donating her time and awesome skills to the cause. Besides being an avid supporter of Walk to Defeat ALS, Michelle is the inventor of the red Never Give Up wristbands. They are only $1 each and Michelle has already raised over 6 million dollars for ALS!! So glad to have befriended such an awesome humanitarian as Michelle!
I’ve always wanted to get a hair feather extension and in the V.I.F. I got my chance! I chose a hot pink feather for my hair. Hot pink is one of my favorite colors and each time I have looked in the mirror since the walk I get a renewed sense of pride.
It is a reminder of what a difference each of us can make in small, yet significant ways.
At the event there were three people who dressed in incredibly patriotic costumes. They were there to walk for all the U.S. Veterans who suffer from ALS. I am a huge supporter of our selfless military service men and women and this aspect of the cause hit a strong chord with me. Did you know that our veterans who have served are twice as likely to develop ALS disease, than those who have not served?
While I was there, I signed a petition encouraging the government to pass further legislation to help Veterans with ALS receive the support and treatment they deserve and need. As they say, “Fighting for Our Vets as They Fought for Us”. God Bless Them All!
Team Packrats, lead by Amy Paffrath was a group of kind, wonderful people. I’m so glad that I met each of you and had the opportunity to walk beside all of you! I couldn’t have asked for a better group of people to call teammates.
"SO I CLOSE IN SAYING THAT I MAY HAVE HAD A BAD BREAK, BUT I HAVE AN AWFUL LOT TO LIVE FOR." ~ Lou Gehrig
I. Can. Not. Wait. For what adventure is slated next on The List.
One word hint for November: VROOM!
So, I invented The List one night while I was lying in bed, reading the Bible, which is something I always wanted to do, yet I’ve never done it. There’s a lot of “Always Wanted To Do’s” . I’m sure you know what I mean. I kept thinking, “What the hell’s stopping me?!? Why haven’t I done the things I’ve always said I wanted to do in life?
There’s all these things I want to accomplish—“Wish I knew how to…Wish I had learned…I would love to…Try that…Read that…Experience that…” I would… Would…Would… Woulda-Coulda-Shoulda!! But I haven’t.
I thought the best thing for me to do was to put it out there and let the World hold me accountable. So I came up with a list. No holds barred. Things I have ALWAYS wanted to do—and I thought, “Okay, instead of over-pressuring, or stressing myself out with too many unobtainable goals (leading to failure), let me try to focus on ONE of these, per month, for a WHOLE ENTIRE YEAR. At the end of the year, basically October 2011 through October 2012, I will have checked off at least 12 more things from my non-bucket Bucket List. (I’m not dying. Yet. I don’t think. »knock on wood« You know what I mean.)
There’s tons of things I’ve always wanted to do: Skydiving, take voice lessons, learn krav maga, etc. And I thought it would be a great adventure to share with you…My adventures. And that’s when I came up with The List.
I want you to ask yourself, “What’s holding you (me) back?”
No more excuses. I’m tired of making excuses. Time’s still ticking. Life’s passing me by. And I don’t want to feel like it’s passing me by without me accomplishing things. Really living.
I’m tired of looking up to other people. I want to look up to myself and say, “Yeah, I’m a badass! Look at what I’VE accomplished. Look at what I’ve done.” You know?
Steve Martin was on the Ellen DeGeneres show once. And that guy is super talented. Besides being an incredibly funny, well-rounded actor, he’s got all of these unique skills that he can do. (In fact, this story reminds me of my also amazingly multi-talented friend and improv instructor, Jim Nieb.) Back to Steve. Steve Martin can play the banjo. I mean how many people do you know that can play the banjo? He can lasso. Seriously. He knows how to lasso. Who the hell do you know of in random, every day life that can lasso?!? And play the banjo? There was one more thing that Steve showed Ellen, but I cannot remember what it was. The whole point is I’m tired of being that person that wishes for things. I want to be that person that says, “Yeah I can do that. Yeah, I DID that.” Bam!!
What’s holding YOU back?